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ANC distances itself further from sign language interpreter

Sapa

The ANC again says it has nothing to do with the appointment of Thamsanqa Jantjie, a sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

Thamsanqa Jantjie at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. (Reuters)

The ANC had nothing to do with the appointment of a bogus sign language interpreter at former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service, the party said on Monday.

"The ANC reiterates that the organisation did not take part in the government process to procure the service provider for the memorial service," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.

He was reacting to media reports that some employees of the ANC owned a company that employed the interpreter, Thamsanqa​ Jantjie.

The Sunday Times reported that Jantjie was employed by a company owned by the ANC's religious and traditional affairs desk head, Bantubahle Xozwa.

Xozwa told the paper that 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."

History of mental problems
Jantjie had a history of mental problems.

He told the newspaper that he was a patient of Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital in Krugersdorp.

He was discharged and started working after being medicated and monitored by doctors.

On Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said government would investigate claims that Jantjie did not use intelligible sign language.

Mthembu said the ANC supported the probe by government.

After the memorial at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday, Jantjie told various media outlets he had suffered a schizophrenic episode in which he had seen angels, and that he had panicked when he realised he was surrounded by armed police. – Sapa

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