Officials Linked to Bogus Mandela Interpreter Resign

They reportedly owned company that employed the man who waved his hands nonsensically at Mandela memorial

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Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

A man passing himself off as a sign language interpreter punches the air during a speech being given by India's President Pranab Mukherjee at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the FNB soccer stadium in Johannesburg. December 10, 2013.

Two employees of South Africa’s ruling party have resigned because of the snafu over the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, the party confirmed Tuesday.

Cikizwa Xozwa  and her husband, the Rev. Bantubahle Xozwa, who oversees the African National Congress’ religious and traditional affairs desk, both resigned in December following the scandal, the local Mail & Guardian reports. The couple reportedly owned the company that employed the fake interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie. After fake-signing his way through Mandela’s Dec. 10 memorial, Jantjie said he was experiencing a schizophrenic episode and was seeing angels, then panicked when he realized he was surrounded by police.

The ANC said that it had no part in hiring Jantjie, but it was later revealed that the interpreter was employed as an administrator for South African Interpreters, a company owned by the Xozwas. But when asked about the connection, Rev. Xozwa said Jantjie was signing at the memorial service “in his personal capacity,” not on behalf of the company. “Thamsanqa is not an interpreter,” he told the Sunday Times.

The confirmation that the couple resigned comes after reports in South African media that they had been fired over the scandal. “They resigned. They were never fired,” ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said.

[Mail & Guardian]