It was reported on Dec. 13 that Thamsanqa Jantjie, the bogus sign language interpreter who’s come under fire since the world watched him flail his hands and fingers around as the official signer at Nelson Mandela’s recent memorial service, has an extensive criminal past - which include charges of attempted murder, murder, rape, kidnapping, housebreaking, malicious damage to property, and theft.
Additionally, the man who stood only scant feet away from President Barack Obama and other world leaders confessed to CNN that he’s being treated for schizophrenia, and that he was having a schizophrenic episode while signing incoherently at the memorial service.
In fairness to Jantjie, although he was charged with an extensive list of past criminal activities, he’s only ever been found guilty on the theft charge, which occurred in 1995.
His housebreaking, damage to property and an additional 1996 theft charges were all withdrawn; and he was ultimately found not guilty of his rape and murder charges.
Still, the schizophrenic signing interpreter with a criminal past whose close proximity to world leaders at Mandela’s memorial service, and whose signing was deemed as being incoherent and meaningless by sign language experts, is also bringing South Africa’s security measures under new scrutiny.
Reportedly, South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority didn’t have any information regarding “whether Jantjie was facing any of the charges.”
South African government officials are however looking into how Jantjie managed to even get security clearance for the memorial service.
Although some officials claim him to be highly qualified as a sign language interpreter with a history of being trusted at other high profile events, others are outraged.
South Africa’s national director of the Deaf Federation, Bruno Druchen, called Jantjie a fake.
The U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Friday that "we're all very upset" about Jantjie, who was just 3 feet from Obama at the memorial service for Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at 95. ~ The Huffington Post
For more on Thamsanqa Jantjie's criminal charges, see the video accompanying this article.
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