*Days after he fooled the world as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial, more information on Thamsanqa Jantjie has surfaced.
Media sources report that Jantjie was employed by a company owned by the African National Congress’ (ANC) religious and traditional affairs desk. The head of the desk, Bantubahle Xozwa, confirmed to The Sunday Times that Thamsanqa Jantjie was employed as an administrator and facilitator in his company, South African Interpreters.
“Thamsanqa is not an interpreter,” Xozwa was quoted as saying. “He was disqualified years ago on the basis of his health. He was interpreting at the memorial service in his personal capacity.”
Jantjie’s mental health has been the center of news after his appearance during Mandela’s memorial resulted in sign language experts dismissing his signing as nothing more than gibberish. Jantjie later confessed that he suffered a hallucinatory episode during the memorial, saw angels, and panicked due to the presence of armed guards.
The memorial isn’t the first time Jantjie’s mental health has been questioned. The Associated Press cites one relative and three of Jantjie’s friends who revealed he was part of a group that confronted two men carrying a stolen television and placed burning tires around their necks. Although he and several other people faced murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping charges, Jauntie’s charges against him were dropped after he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Jantjie was He was institutionalized before he returned home.
“I am a patient of Sterkfontein. I was discharged and started working after being medicated and monitored by doctors,” Jantjie stated to the Sunday Times about his time at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital in Krugersdorp.
Jantjie’s close proximity to President Barack Obama at the memorial, coupled with his history of mental health issues, has since raised questions regarding security.
Deputy Minister of Women, Children and the Disabled Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said her department was looking into the situation as Jantjie had been accredited and was granted access to the VIP stage at the memorial. “There’s no way you can just rock up and stand next to a president. Somebody, somewhere is lying,” she told the Times.