Johannesburg: Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has been kept on a life-support system following deterioration of his health condition at a South African hospital.

"Ailing former President Nelson Mandela is on life support in the Pretoria Heart Clinic where he has been fighting a recurrent lung infection since June 8," media reported.

According to the reports, five highly-placed sources close to the family, including two who had recently visited him in hospital, said that the iconic leader's health has deteriorated to the point where he is breathing with the assistance of a life support ventilator.

Another source said that Mandela is suffering from kidney failure and is undergoing renal dialysis for three hours every second day. "He is critical, but has an entire team of doctors, from a cardiac specialist, pulmonary specialist, kidney specialist and a main consultant looking after him," the source said, adding that the doctors have given the family the option to switch off the life support machines.

A meeting was called on Tuesday by Mandela's eldest daughter Makaziwe at his ancestral home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province during which it was decided that that the elders and Mandela's confidantes would visit the 94-year-old leader.

However, reports from the Presidency only confirmed that Mandela remains in a critical condition.



Considered the founding father of South Africa's democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid. He was elected the nation's first black President in 1994, four years after he was freed from prison.

(Agencies)

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