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Interpreter’s criminal background revealed

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Copy of st Interpreter Thamsanqa (38652754)

THE STAR

The bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, Tamsanqa Jantjie, has called himself "a great fake". Photo: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - The interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service has been convicted of theft and once had a string of criminal charges, including murder, laid against him, eNCA reported on Friday.

The television news station reported that a murder, attempted murder and kidnapping case from 2003, against Thamsanqa Jantjie and two other men, was referred to the High Court in Johannesburg in 2004, and was finalised in November 2006.

However the outcome was unknown as the court file for the case was found empty by eNCA reporters.

Using court and police records, eNCA established that Jantjie was convicted of theft in 199, and is recorded to have received a three-year sentence.

He was charged with housebreaking in July 199,7 and malicious damage to property in April 1998.

Jantjie was charged with rape in September 1994, but was later acquitted.

Jantjie was metres away from the likes of SA President Jacob Zuma, US President Barack Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro, and Mandela's widow Graca Machel, during proceedings at Mandela's memorial at FNB Stadium, in Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

Jantjie has reportedly said he had suffered a schizophrenic episode during the memorial, in which the signs he made were dismissed as gibberish by the deaf community.

Sapa


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