The ambulance which was carrying South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela caught fire as it was taking him to hospital in the months before his death, his doctor, Vejay Ramlakan, has revealed in a newly published book, Reuters news agency has reported.
Dr Ramlakan was accompanying the anti-apartheid icon from his home in the main city, Johannesburg, to a specialist heart hospital in the capital, Pretoria, in June 2013 when “a pall of black smoke enveloped the ambulance as it slowed to a halt in the fast lane of the freeway”, he wrote in the book entitled Mandela’s Last Years.
“I lifted my focus from the section of road in the headlights to glance ahead and saw what appeared to be a vehicle on fire…. This was awful. Madiba in an ambulance on fire,” added Ramlakan, using the Mr Mandela’s clan name.
Mr Mandela was unharmed, and was transferred after about 30 minutes to a backup ambulance which took him to the hospital, Reuters quoted Dr Ramlakan as saying.
In another shocking revelation, Dr Ramlakan wrote that a spy camera was found in the morgue where Mr Mandela’s body was kept following his death some six months later from a prolonged respiratory infection.
“I found this a symptom of the lunacy of persons whose unfettered curiosity was most barbaric,” Reuters quoted him as writing.
Three spy cameras, filming the Mandela household and family cemetery in Mr Mandela’s home village of Qunu, were also also found in 2011.
Mr Mandela, who spent more than 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid, died aged 95.
Mr Mandela was elected president in 1994
Mr Mandela was buried in his home village