'Fake' signer was in group that burned men

By Drum Digital
16 December 2013

The bogus sign language interpreter at last week's Nelson Mandela memorial service was among a group of people who accosted two men found with a stolen television and burned them to death, by setting fire to tyres placed around their necks, one of the interpreter's cousins and three of his friends told AP on Monday.

But Thamsanqa Jantjie never went to trial for the 2003 killings when other suspects did in 2006 because authorities determined he was not mentally fit to stand trial, said the four. They insisted on speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the fake signing fiasco, which has deeply embarrassed the government and prompted a high-level investigation into how it happened.

Their account of the killings matched a description of the crime and the outcome for Jantjie that he himself described in an interview published on Sunday by the Sunday Times.

"It was a community thing, what you call mob justice, and I was also there," Jantjie told the newspaper.

Jantjie was not at his house on Monday, and the cousin told AP Jantjie had been picked up by someone in a car Sunday and had not returned.

His cellphone rang through to an automatic message saying Jantjie was not reachable.

-AP

-Picture by-AP Photo/Matt Dunham

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