Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela`s doctors have dismissed the idea of switching off the ailing anti-apartheid icon`s life support until there was a genuine state of organ failure, a close friend of the South African former president has said.
Denis Goldberg, a friend of Mandela for more than five decades, told the weekly `City Press` that the matter of switching off the life support had been discussed and dismissed.
"I was told that the doctors said they would only consider such a situation if there was a genuine state of organ failure," Goldberg said, as the 94-year-old leader spent nearly one month in the hospital.
"Since that hasn`t occurred, they were quite prepared to go on stabilising him until he recovers," Goldberg added.
Confirming that Mandela was breathing with assistance from machines, Goldberg told the weekly: "But he responds to voices and tries to talk, yet mumbles."
"He was dozing when I got there. I spoke and told him who I was and he opened his eyes and looked at me. I spoke to him for about 10 minutes and he responded positively to what I was saying.
"He did not answer because he can`t talk, with the pipe in his throat, but he was moving his jaw as if he wanted to talk."
Mandela, who turns 95 on July 18, was hospitalised at a Pretoria hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.
Court paper filed earlier this week in a bitter feud between Mandela family members cited Mandela`s health as being in a "permanent vegetative state", but this was rejected by the Presidency which said Mandela remained in a critical but stable condition.
The court document had said that Mandela`s doctors advised his family to turn off the ailing icon`s life-support machines.