The South African government has denied a report that former president Nelson Mandela is in a vegetative state. The report Thursday from the French news agency was based on court documents filed last month.

A statement from the presidency cites doctors as denying the report, and reiterates an earlier statement that Mandela remains in critical but stable condition.

The anti-apartheid icon, who is 94, has spent nearly a month in Pretoria's Mediclinic Heart Hospital.