'Fake' interpreter made claims of being a doctor, teacher

2013-12-13 12:10

The “fake” interpreter in the eye of the Nelson Mandela memorial storm, Thamsanqa Jantjie, dropped out of primary school, tried to use fake report cards to further his education and later claimed to be a doctor and a teacher.

This is according to a report in the Daily Dispatch which traced Jantjie’s relatives and former teachers in Bloemfontein, where he grew up.

Dyantyi is the interpreter’s family name although Jantjie is the surname he used on his business card, according to eNCA’s Karyn Maughan.

The Dispatch reports that after dropping out of Nozala Primary School in 1997, “he twice tried to register at the high school and technikon using fake report cards, but was caught out”.

Relatives told the Dispatch that Jantjie would “disappear and return years later claiming to be a doctor and later a teacher”.

Arts and culture minister Paul Mashatile this morning issued an apology about the interpreter.

In his statement, he says: “Without passing judgment, nobody should be allowed to undermine our languages. We sincerely apologise to the deaf community and all South Africans for any offence that may have been suffered.”

Government has said it would investigate how Jantjie was chosen to interpret at the memorial.

It emerged yesterday that Jantjie had been investigated by the justice department after allegations that he had submitted false travel claims to the value of R1.5 million for interpreting work.

It also emerged that he has been investigated by police for allegedly holding a Boksburg court official hostage with a brick.

According to callers on radio shows yesterday, Jantjie worked in the courts as an interpreter.

Jantjie yesterday told the world’s media that he had a schizophrenic episode, causing his translations to be incoherent to deaf viewers.

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