The declaration from members of the former president’s family came as part of a family dispute over the graves of three of his children.
In documents dated June 26 they said: “He is in a permanent vegetative state and is assisted in breathing by a life support machine.
“The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.
“Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability.”
The “certificate of urgency” document was obtained from a lawyer representing Mandela family members who had successfully sought a court order to return the children’s remains to the revered South African leader’s childhood home.
Since it was written, the South African government, family members and hospital visitors have reported that Mr Mandela’s condition has improved.
The following day Mr Zuma reported that Mr Mandela’s health had “improved during the course of the night”.
“He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job,” Mr Zuma said in a statement on June 27.
Since then the government has said Mr Mandela’s condition remains “critical but stable”, but has provided few details, citing patient confidentiality.
Lawyers for Mr Mandela’s relatives, family members themselves and government officials were not immediately available for comment.
Earlier, 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 … he offered his nation an opportunity to be united under the banner of our flag, under the banner of our constitution,” she said.
Source: YAHOO NEWS.