JOHANNESBURG -- The South African government has denied a report that former President Nelson Mandela was in a "permanent vegetative state" in a Pretoria hospital, saying Mr. Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader, remains in "critical but stable" condition.
The Thursday report by the Agence France-Presse wire service pointed to court papers filed June 26 in a dispute among Mandela family members over the burial location of three of Mr. Mandela's children.
In the document, a lawyer for members of the Mandela family explained why they believed the court should act urgently on the matter, pointing to Mr. Mandela's life-threatening condition. Also on Thursday, Mr. Mandela's wife, Graça Machel, described him as sometimes uncomfortable and in pain, but otherwise "fine."
And Denis Goldberg, a former fellow anti-apartheid activist who visited Mr. Mandela in the hospital on Monday, said that he had found the ailing former president "totally conscious" and in much better shape than he had expected.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.