Winnie Mandela denies giving permission for publication of Mandela book

Earlier this week, Penguin Random House withdrew the book out of respect for the Mandela family.

FILE: Winnie Madikizela Mandela at Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 10 December 2013. Picture: Herman Verwey/Mandela Pool

JOHANNESBURG - Winnie Madikizela Mandela says she's disturbed by reports that she gave permission for the publication of the controversial book on her ex-husband’s final moments.

The book was written by the late Nelson Mandela’s doctor Vejay Ramlakan, who assured publishers he had permission from Madiba's family to go ahead.

Earlier this week, Penguin Random House withdrew the book out of respect for the Mandela family.

Madikizela-Mandela has released a statement on Wednesday evening saying she played no role at all in the book.

She admits to signing an autograph for the author but says it was only out of courtesy for someone who cared for Madiba.

In the statement, the struggle stalwart says only Ramlakan can tell the South African public and the world who commissioned him or approved of the book.

"In terms of the autograph I gave to the author, this was a courtesy on my part for someone who had cared for Madiba. He brought me the first copy and he said: 'Mama can you sign the first copy?' I am asked for my autograph often, and my autograph has never become an endorsement of anything.

"With regard to statements made in the media by MK Malefane in relation to myself and this book, I cannot prevent anyone from making statements. Once again, I did not commission MK to say anything either on my behalf or anyone else."

Madikizela-Mandela says this is her first and only official statement on the issue.