Former SANDF Surgeon-General Vejay Ramlakan File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Former SANDF Surgeon-General Vejay Ramlakan File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Madiba’s former doctor Vejay Ramlakan, 62, dies

By Time of article published Aug 27, 2020

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Kuben Chetty, Sihle Mavuso and IOL reporter

Durban – Dr Vejay Ramlakan, Nelson Mandela's personal physician and former surgeon-general of the country's armed forces, passed away on Thursday aged 62

He served in Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress, during the liberation struggle against the apartheid government in the 1980s and transferred to the South African National Defence Force when MK was incorporated into it in 1994.

Ramlakan was the commander of “Operation Butterfly”, a programme to develop an integrated political-military underground command structure in the greater Durban area and a campaign to destabilise the border regions of South Africa.

The president of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), Kebby Maphatsoe, said the passing away of Ramlakan was very sad for them and the country.

"This is very sad... Vejay Ramlakan was a very dedicated person to the struggle for our liberation and to the country. He was also a very selfless person.

’’You would remember that he was one of Nelson Mandela's doctors. So this is a great loss to the country and the MKMVA," he said.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa passed his condolences to the Ramlakan family and the SA National Defence Force, saying he had done a sterling job during his time in the defence force.

“The doctor was a very quiet individual. He was not a person of many words. I happened to work with him when he monitored Mandela.

“He made it a point that when Madiba goes to Mthatha there will be a field hospital. He did a good job.

“Ramlakan worked closely with Dr Dabula, the current head of the health services. They seem to know their story,” said Holomisa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the Presidency will issue a statement later on the matter.

In 2017, Ramlakan controversially authored a book titled Mandela’s Last Years, which was later withdrawn by the publisher after the Mandela family objected to it being published without their permission, claims which the doctor denied.

Graça Machel, Mandela’ wife, reported Ramlakan to the Health Professions Council of SA, accusing him of unethical conduct and of violating Mandela’s dignity by disclosing his medical records in his book without consent.

The sensitive information reportedly included that Mandela died in the arms of ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and that Machel was not with him at the time.

Political Bureau and IOL

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