Military funeral for Nelson Mandela's former doctor

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
The author of 'Mandela's Last Years', Dr Vejay Ramlakan, with former president Nelson Mandela.
The author of 'Mandela's Last Years', Dr Vejay Ramlakan, with former president Nelson Mandela.
Image: Penguin Random House

Retired politician Mac Maharaj, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula are among the political bigwigs who will pay tribute to former surgeon-general of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Dr Vejay Ramlakan in Durban on Saturday.

Ramlakan, who penned a tell-all book about statesman Nelson Mandela's final days, will be given a funeral with “full military honours”, the SANDF announced on Friday.

The 62-year-old Struggle veteran died last week in a Johannesburg hospital of a suspected heart attack.

In 2017, Ramlakan's book Mandela's Last Years was swiftly withdrawn from bookstore shelves after the Mandela family accused the author of breaching doctor-patient confidentiality and Mandela’s widow‚ Graça Machel‚ threatened to sue him. Madiba died in December 2013.

According to the programme for the funeral, which will be held at Durban's City Hall, Mkhize will deliver the eulogy, while Maharaj and Mapisa-Nqakula will both deliver messages.

Ramlakan will be cremated at the Clare Estate crematorium.

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