Mandela's health: Government denies he is in "vegetative" state, visitor says he is conscious

South Africa's government says Nelson Mandela remains in a critical but stable condition and denies that he is in a vegetative state.

A court document filed June 27 concerning Mandela family graves said affidavits would be provided from his physicians that show Mandela "is in a permanent vegetative state." A later filing dropped that phrase.

A close friend of Mandela's, Denis Goldberg, told Sky News on Friday that he visited Mandela on Monday and that Mandela was conscious and responsive. Goldberg said Mandela's wife told him that doctors said there was no sign of a general organ collapse and that they did not recommend turning life support off.

Goldberg said the legal papers might have been written when Mandela was unconscious, and that maybe Mandela then improved.