Friday, December 13, 2013

World News: South Africa investigates sign interpreter who didn't really sign jack

The South African government said Friday that it is aware of reports that the sign interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service once faced a murder charge and is a schizophrenic, and told news outlets he is being investigated.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Phumla Williams of the communications office said the government is investigating Thamsanqa Jantjie and how he was selected to interpret at Tuesday's program where he stood close to President Barack Obama and other leaders.

Jantjie outraged deaf people by making signs they said amounted to gibberish, the AP reported. A South African TV news outlet eNCA reported that Jantjie faced a murder charge a decade ago but it's unclear whether the case was concluded. The alleged tricky interpreter reportedly faced other criminal charges.

When an AP reporter asked Jantjie about a murder charge, he walked away without comment. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are concerned about security and how the interpreter could have gotten so close to world leaders. South Africa's arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile apologized and told media outlets that reforms are needed and will ensure the incident doesn't happen again. Mashatile did not say who was responsible for hiring the sign interpreter and the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling part, said the state is responsible for handling the arrangements.

Jantjie did tell AP yesterday that he has been violent in the past and hallucinated during the memorial service as he was gesturing.

What do you make of this revelation? Speak!

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