Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s health is reportedly improving, so much so that there has been reports that he may be discharged from the Pretoria hospital where he has been receiving treatment for a reoccurring lung infection over the last five weeks.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela, says that the anti-apartheid hero and Nobel laureate could be discharged from hospital soon.
According to a report by News Day, “South Africa’s radio broadcaster Eyewitness News reported on Sunday that Thabo Mbeki was speaking at a memorial service Saturday when he predicted that Mandela would be going home.”
In previous reports, the South African government has been very cryptic in describing Mandela’s health.
Several days ago, South African President Jacob Zuma stated that Mandela was responding to treatment but remained in a critical condition.
In response to those reports by the current president of South Africa, The New York Times raised some rather uncomfortable but relevant questions about how his family would decide when is the right time to pull plug.
According to the Times:
“Medical experts in and outside South Africa who are not involved in the former president’s care have taken the government’s cryptic statement — that Mr. Mandela is in ‘critical but stable condition’ — to mean that he is being sustained by equipment, which, given his advanced age, could present his relatives, doctors and the country with a wrenching choice about how long to keep the 94-year-old alive.
“Any decision would be made in the glare of an international spotlight and would involve an extended family that has shown itself to be fractious about decisions regarding inheritance, his eventual burial location and his legacy. And it would do so under a set of South African laws and court precedents that leave some unnerving gray areas over who might make the ultimate decision.”
Mandela spent 27 years in prison while South Africa, a majority black nation, was being ruled by a white minority who imposed a system of apartheid on the nation. The anti-apartheid hero became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He turns 95 on Thursday.