Penguin Random House SA responds to legal action threat by Graça Machel over new book
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Penguin Random House South Africa has released a statement after former president Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, threatened to sue over its new publication Mandela’s Last Years.

‘I condemn the book in the strongest terms,’ Machel said in a statement released by her foundation on Friday.

Machel says she believes the book is a ‘breach of the doctor-patient relationship of confidentiality’.

‘I am taking legal advice on whether to institute legal proceedings against the author and its publisher,’ Machel said.

Penguin Random House SA released the following statement:

Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author Vejay Ramlakan advised PRHSA that he had received permission from Mr Mandela’s family to publish the book. Their representative was provided with a proof of the book.

This statement is in response to Graça Machel’s threat to sue the publisher and Ramlakan as reported in the media today.

Mandela’s Last Years sets the record straight about the final years of his life. Written by the head of his medical team, the military doctor who witnessed first-hand what the former president was experiencing, it documents the complex medical challenges, the interactions between family members and staff, the constant scrutiny from the press, and the actions and responses of Mandela himself.

Written with respect and with the support of family members, this book completes the story of Nelson Mandela. It reveals a man who showed immense courage, not only when he fought for the freedom of millions of people, but until the very end of his own life.

Vejay Ramlakan was born in Durban in 1957 and joined Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1977, undergoing military training in South Africa and in Swaziland. He studied medicine at the University of Natal and served as president of the Medical Students Representative Council from 1979 to 1980. He was a founding member of the United Democratic Front, and was involved in MK’s Operation Butterfly in Natal. From 1987 to 1991 he was imprisoned on Robben Island, and after his release he served as medical commander at the 1991 ANC National Conference, at CODESA, and for the President Mandela Guard. In 1993 and 1994 he served as deputy chief of the MK Health Service and led the MK military health team for integration into the National Peacekeeping Force and later the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). From 2005 to 2013 he served as South Africa’s surgeon general, and in 2011 he was appointed as chief of corporate staff in the SANDF. He retired from the military in 2015.

For more information contact Surita Joubert at sjoubert@penguinrandomhouse.co.za | 021 460 5462 or visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za

Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Graça Machel Mandela's Last Years News Penguin Random House SA Vejay Ramlakan

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