As we all know by now, the shamefully bad performance by Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service is the least of the issues surrounding him. It turns out that by his own admission, he has a history of violent behavior--one that wasn't known to the memorial organizers. Meaning that even if he wasn't a fake, he had nada, zip, zero business being within three feet of President Obama and several other dignitaries.
eNews Channel Africa, the South African counterpart of CNN and MSNBC, did some digging into Jantjie's past. What it found was disturbing, to say the least.
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.Watch enCA's piece here.
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.
Jantjie has refused to comment on what happened to the case. The National Prosecuting Authority says it can't confirm or deny the existance of charges against Jantjie.
eNCA was able to establish these facts in less than 48 hours, posing serious questions about the security arrangements at Tuesday's memorial and why the government failed to pick up Jantjie’s past. (emphasis mine)
The reporter, Karyn Maughan, and the anchor, Andrew Barnes, looked like it was all they could do to keep their composure. It's hard not to blame them. Epic fail doesn't even begin to describe this. No one with that kind of rap sheet should be within an area code of some of the most heavily protected people in the world.
This situation would be an outrage regardless of Jantjie's mental condition. A lot of heads need to roll for this, and soon.