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Nelson Mandela 'in permanent vegetative state' - reports

Doctors had advised that Nelson Mandela's life support machine should be turned off as he was in a 'permanent vegetative state', according to reports.

Mr Mandela has been in a critical condition in hospital after first being admitted on June 8.

The latest revelation came amid court documents as part of a family dispute over the graves of three of his children.

The remains of Nelson Mandela's three dead children have been reburied at their original resting site, a day after a court ordered their return two years after a Mandela grandson moved the bodies.

Family members and community elders attended a ceremony on the Mandela property that included the singing of hymns. The reburial took place in Qunu, Mr Mandela's hometown and the place the former president has said he wants to be buried.

Grandson Mandla Mandela moved the bodies to his village of Mvezo - Nelson Mandela's birthplace - in 2011. The two towns are about 25 kms (15 miles) apart. Fifteen Mandela family members took court action last week to force the grandson to move the bodies.

The bitter family feud comes as Mr Mandela remains in critical condition nearly a month after being taken to hospital with a recurring lung infection. A Mandela family court affidavit, obtained by the Mail and Guardian newspaper, said Mandela is on life support in the form of a breathing respirator.

Mandla Mandela - the oldest male Mandela heir and a tribal chief - told a news conference today that "my grandfather like myself would be highly disappointed in what is unravelling."

Meanwhile, Mr Mandela's wife said the former president is sometimes uncomfortable but seldom in pain while being treated in a hospital.

Graca Machel spoke about her husband's condition at a fundraising drive for a children's hospital that will be named after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.

"Whatever is the outcome of his stay in hospital, that will remain the second time where he offered his nation an opportunity to be united under the banner of our flag, under the banner of our constitution," she said.

Mr Mandela remains in critical but stable condition, according to a statement by President Jacob Zuma's office. Mr Zuma visited him today.

Mr Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years during white racist rule and was freed in 1990 before being elected president in all-race elections. He won the Nobel Peace Prize with former President F.W. de Klerk.


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