Book publisher halts distribution of Mandela book following backlash

FILE Nelson Mandela’s grandson chief Mandla Mandela

They also claim that the publishing house Penguin and Mr Ramlakan were not solicited prior to publication, and that Graça Machel has not been consulted.

On Monday afternoon Penguin Random House SA announced that the book Mandela's Last Years will be withdrawn.

"Penguin Random House South Africa has chose to immediately withdraw the book Mandela's Last Years from the trade and no further copies will be issued".

The cover of the controversial book, Mandela's Last Years.

It revealed several undignified episodes at the end of Mandela's life as well as bitter family squabbles over his care and legacy, prompting fury from his widow Graca Machel who threatened legal action.

Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang said that the book should not have been published and that the foundation was not involved in its production.

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"We are deeply disappointed that the doctor appears to have compromised himself and the man whom he had the privilege to serve", Nkosi Mandela, a grandson of the anti-apartheid leader, said in a statement. "However, given the statements from family members, we have made a decision to withdraw the book".

In the book, Ramlakan reveals intimate details of Mandela's health condition including those of his admission at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital on June 8, in a "serious condition".

"On the previous night, we surmised, a sudden ulcer bleed and concomitant lung infection had probably caused an aspiration from blood that was being regurgitated", he wrote.

The department of defence (DOD) had also distanced itself from the book.

Machel accused Ramlakan, a former military surgeon, of breaching patient confidentiality.

She said she would consult the executors of his will - Justice Dikgang Moseneke, George Bizos SC and Judge Themba Sangoni - on how "best protect Madiba's good name and reputation".

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