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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: I Had Nothing To Do With Book On Madiba's Last Years

Earlier reports claimed she had contributed to the book by Nelson Mandela's doctor, which has since been pulled.

26/07/2017 18:48 SAST | Updated 26/07/2017 18:55 SAST
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Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Nelson Mandela's second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has hit back at claims she played a role in a controversial book describing his last years, written by his former doctor Vejay Ramlakan.

"Mandela's Last Years" was pulled by Penguin Random House South Africa, after Graça Machel, Mandela's widowed wife and Madiba's grandson Mandla, threatened to take legal action against the author for breaching doctor/ patient confidentiality.

"I have played no role in the Penguin book Mandela's Last Years. Let me reiterate that I played absolutely no role at all at any stage of this book", said Madikizela-Mandela.

"I have been disturbed by reports that I either gave permission for the publication of the book Mandela's Last Years by Vejay Ramlakan or approved of it after its publication. There is no truth to any of this. Only Ramlakan can tell the South African public and the world who commissioned him or approved of this book."

She said she signed a copy of the book just as a "courtesy on my part for someone who had cared for Madiba".

Madikizela-Mandela continued: "With regard to statements made in the media by MK Malefane in relation to myself and this book, I cannot prevent anyone from making statements. Once again, I did not commission MK to say anything either on my behalf or anyone else."

The book was written by Ramlakan, the country's former surgeon general and headed Mandela's medical team till his death in 2013.

Mandla agreed with Machel that the book contained statements that constituted an ethical breach.

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