Report: Mandela Memorial Interpreter Was Accused of Murder

Reportedly charged with murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in 2003

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Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie during the memorial service at FNB Stadium December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, who sparked outrage when it was revealed his signing was fake, was also accused of murder in 2003, according to a new local news report.

Citing court documents, the Johannesburg-based news station eNCA reports that Thamsanqa Jantjie was charged with murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in 2003. He also faced rape and theft charges in 1994, housebreaking charges in 1997, and malicious damage to property charges in 1998, according to eNCA.Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, eNCA reports,  but many of the other charges against him were dropped, it’s unclear if he ever served time in prison, and the station reports the court file in one case is “mysteriously empty.” Jantjie hasn’t commented on the 2003 case.

A government spokeswoman said Friday that officials are investigating reports of accusations against Jantjie and “we will come back and give a full report,” according to the Associated Press.

Jantjie, who has said he is being treated for schizophrenia, told the Johannesburg Star that he began hearing voices during Tuesday’s memorial service for the late South African president, making it hard to concentrate on interpreting, but that he felt he had no choice but to stay on stage and continue.

“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry, it’s the situation I found myself in,” he said.

But advocates for the deaf quickly labeled him a fake during the memorial.

Mystery continues to surround exactly how he made it onto a stage with so many world leaders. The South African government is investigating, and one official said Thursday that the company through which he was hired has “vanished into thin air.”

[eNCA]

183 comments
Dave Randall
Dave Randall

So now some Republican will accuse Obama of hanging out with murderers

Dave Randall
Dave Randall

and Mandela was accused of being a enemy of the state and spent 27 yrs in prison

William H. Fleming
William H. Fleming

-_- i thought i was the only one who thought of that...only 10 feet away

Ryan Plakonouris
Ryan Plakonouris

The person who employed him to be there is responsible for the shambles and embarrassment!!

Luke Jones
Luke Jones

The president or the interpreter?

Manny Ibarra
Manny Ibarra

I couldn't hear him. He was signing to low. Lol

Kin Bleasdale
Kin Bleasdale

Black in color ....exterior and interior! Without the modern attire can't imagine what primitive creature he looks like. Huge gigantic coal black tadpole!

Donna Kinsley Papariello
Donna Kinsley Papariello

That is horrible that he would get next to any world leaders at all. Where were our Secret Service people who are supposed to vet all people involved in public events.

Jackie Reed
Jackie Reed

Wow! It's a story that keeps getting worse.

Brett Jaye
Brett Jaye

Lovely racist comment there from Mr CYprian Onyango Designi

Brett Jaye
Brett Jaye

This loser obviously wants media attention.......and he's getting big time. TIME please stop articles on him.

Taip Taipi
Taip Taipi

No regular government would have allowed such unverified interpreter taking part in such memorial.

Maria Colls
Maria Colls

And if you believe that, you'll believe anything.

Maria Colls
Maria Colls

Its sad when we hear more about this and some photos taken. Rather than the event itself.

Jean Pierre Joubert
Jean Pierre Joubert

Typical of my nation... Even President Zuma has been accused of rape and excessive corruption. Our Police Commissioner is also accused of murder and the list of criminaly charged government officials goes on and on. #incompetentgovernment

Carl E. Ellis
Carl E. Ellis

He murdered the hopes and dreams of every deaf person out there too!

renfieldc
renfieldc

So he has a rap sheet. That's nothing new in South Africa. Even the President has a rap sheet and it's no joke.

Lucky for him, the 'Judiciary' that decides on such matters, so far, has been able to have rape charges against the President dismissed even though proof is undeniable.

Paul Stevens
Paul Stevens

he shouldve taken obama out as far as concerned!!!

Carol Ann Pepin Eby
Carol Ann Pepin Eby

He looked so stupid with his jerky movements - the same over and over ! And he looked too close to President Obama! What a breach of security!

Philip Smith
Philip Smith

Soon he will be linked to a terrorist organization, thus justifying the drone strike.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

you know what the sad thing is? That we are talking about this idiot and the pres handshake then about Mandela....

Bryan Roy
Bryan Roy

Yep. Let's just keep spinning this non story out of control for ZERO reason. This is SENSATIONALIST GARBAGE which has nothing to do with anything.

seeseebutler
seeseebutler

South Africa is becoming dysfunctional and slowly descending into chaos. I was deeply troubled by Apartheid, but I am afraid that blacks will look back and say they should have let whites retain power.

sandraamushi
sandraamushi

The story that he was jailed or 27 years?  No, it is not true.  The dude does not even exist.  He is a fictional character from a novel.

RobPritts
RobPritts

I think an unqualified sign language interpreter is a big deal on the world stage.  It shows that those with disability's are after thoughts.