A mystery South African man who acted as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was a “fraud” who simply made “childish hand gestures” for hours as he stood on stage.While denying he is a fake interpreter, he did admit he suffers from serious mental illness:
Deaf groups say the man, who has not yet been identified, made no sense in any language to those relying on him around the world, and did not seem to know the recognised signs for South Africa, Mr Mandela’s clan name Madiba, President Jacob Zuma or former President Thabo Mbeki.
"I am suffering from schizophrenia, which is controllable. I am under treatment," Jantjie said.Now, more information has surfaced that he has a long and terrifying criminal background:
eNCA's investigations have found that Thamsanqa Jantjie, who is being treated for schizophrenia, has also faced rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003) charges.With such an extensive history of serious criminal charges, South African officials are rightly questioning how he managed to clear security and background checks to be on-stage with world leaders, including President Obama.
Many of the charges brought against him were dropped, allegedly because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, but he was convicted of theft for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. It’s unclear if he ever spent time in jail.
Court records reveal that the 2003 murder, attempted murder and kidnapping case against Jantjie and other people, was referred to the South Gauteng High Court in 2004. It was finalised in November 2006, but the court file for the case is empty.