WORLD

Mandela’s family infuriated by new book on icon

MANDELA’S FAMILY INFURIATED BY NEW BOOK ON ICON

Nelson Mandela's family is lashing out against a new book which gives personal details about the South African statesman's health and death in December 2013.

The book, Mandela's Last Years, released last week and written by a former surgeon to the late president, reveals that family disagreements had a bad effect on his health in his final months.

In a statement issued Saturday night, Mandela's grandson Chief Mandla Mandela said he believes the book violates the principle of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Mandla said the family is deeply disappointed that Dr. Vijay Ramlakan compromised himself and Mandela, whom he had the privilege to serve.

"We are aggrieved as a family that the privilege of administering to President Nelson Mandela afforded to the doctor appears to have been vilely abused," he said.

Ramlakan, who headed Mandela's medical team, also wrote that an ambulance transporting the icon from his Johannesburg home to Pretoria, during his final months, caught fire on the highway.

South Africa's first democratically elected president had to wait for half an hour on the roadside for another ambulance, the surgeon wrote.

Ramlakan further revealed that it was Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who was beside him when he died at age 95.

Mandla Mandela, an MP for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and a traditional leader, said the family supports Graca Machel, Mandela's widow, who is threatening legal action against the surgeon.

Machel condemned Ramlakan's book in a statement on Friday, saying, "It is an affront to and an assault on the trust and dignity of my late husband."

Ramlakan said the Mandela family had given him permission to write the book.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for opposing white minority rule, became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. He succumbed to a lung infection in December 2013, aged 95.

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