Translation queried in Terre'Blanche case

2012-02-01 19:49

Ventersdorp - The work of a translator who mediated between the youth accused of killing Eugene Terre'Blanche and police officers was called into question in the High Court sitting in Ventersdorp on Wednesday.

The boy's lawyer, Zola Majavu, tried to show how information could be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

He asked reserve Detective Constable Emmanuel Mthembu to translate phrases from Afrikaans to Tswana, as he would have done when he explained the rights of the youth to him and his mother before the teenager pointed out the crime scenes.

Mthembu struggled to do so correctly at all times. When he translated incorrectly, the court translator explained that Mthembu’s version was not verbatim, but a simplified version.

Majavu was questioning the accuracy of Mthembu’s translations between Lieutenant Colonel Frans Jacobs, the youth and his mother, after Terre’Blanche’s murder.

Mthembu said he occasionally had to ask Jacobs to clarify what he said during the translation, but he felt the family and youth had understood what was said. However, Mthembu did admit it was possible for some information to have been lost in translation.

He also admitted it was the first time he had acted as a translator.

Mthembu was testifying in a trial within a trial to determine the validity of evidence given by the two accused.

The minor and farmworker Chris Mahlangu are accused of beating Terre'Blanche to death in his farmhouse in April 2010.

  • Andre - 2012-02-01 20:09

    They are looking at every angle to get the self confessed murderers off the hook. This is not about justice it is about technicalities!

  • Andre - 2012-02-01 20:11

    If you are old enough to murder then old enough to stand trial and be sentenced to prison and not a "youth centre".

      Allan Neill - 2012-02-01 20:44

      God help all if those two murderers are found not guilty, or get a suspended sentence.

  • kznshark - 2012-02-01 20:11

    ...the first time he acted as translator? That is worrysome, indeed.

  • eddiebant - 2012-02-01 20:37

    What a 'slymie' lawyer.

      Makatikamusona - 2012-02-01 20:54

      Is that from the article, can't see that one maybe I am getting old and can't see clearly

  • Cracker - 2012-02-01 21:10

    You ELECTRONICALLY record every interaction with witnesses and suspects. Using that SIMPLE way the accurate version can be given to the court so that lying, deceptive and even honest but not accurate witnesses can not later be subjected to unnecessary doubt in court. It also makes it so much easier for the court. What is so difficult about it? The technology and safeguards are available. Safe, reliable and relatively cheap. Must our legal system stay so backwards and for how long?

      Cracker - 2012-02-01 21:52

      I must admit some confusion about the thumbs down to my comment. Why? Why should the investigators of ALL crimes not make the cases foolproof? Had they used the technology available in their investigation of the present case a lot of drama and, for the family, trauma could have been avoided.

      Makatikamusona - 2012-02-01 22:00

      @Cracker We know you want a tender

      Cracker - 2012-02-01 22:21

      @ makatika LOL

      Cracker - 2012-02-01 22:25

      @ Makatika LOL

  • George - 2012-02-01 21:40

    If I may ask what qualifications has a detective Constable and if he even got any certificate of any nature that he can speak the language

  • George - 2012-02-01 21:43

    I have a parrot he speaks Tswana Afrikaans English and rubbish. He is also a detective and goes under cover evry nigtht.

      Hugo - 2012-02-01 22:24

      tell your parrot to teach you how to spell,sheesh

  • Margaret - 2012-02-01 21:48

    R50 a week and then accused of spending his 'wages' on booze.......!!!!! You can't even live on R50 a day...!!!! This is a shame on South Africa - because he is not the only one who gave his workers slave pay. Just go nd live in Ventersdorp or Koster if you want to experience the real horror of apartheid opression that continues to this day!

      Juan - 2012-02-02 02:10

      He was a notoriously racist scumbag. Karma, that's what happened to the man who fell off his horse. I am as outraged by farm murders as the next person, but in this case the killers deserve some mercy from the court.

      Desmond - 2012-02-02 07:06

      @ Juan. He paid for his crimes in jail, so must his murderers.

      Dieter - 2012-02-02 08:07

      Margaret what do you pay tour domestic worker? lets say R70 a day? and she's say 50+ ... with 10 kids and no other income? How does she survive? Sis you racist! So must her grandchildren come and cut you into pieces because you don't give her enough money? ... Sicko!

      darktruth - 2012-02-02 12:42

      100% agreed, and I bet he wasnt the most ethical boss out!

  • George - 2012-02-01 21:54

    So if you dont understand your own language or another you have right to go out and murder. Why did they not ask Frans Jacobs to do it.

  • i.R.womble - 2012-02-01 22:08

    Lucky to get one and then this. Sat how many times and they couldn't get one then we dropped the case because of the time and effort to sit there wasn't viable at the end

  • schalk.mattheys - 2012-02-02 08:25

    Everyone seems to be missing the point here, ET was beaten to death with pipes and pangas, this was not an accidental killing, it was premeditated. Whoever is guilty must be prosecuted and sentenced according to SA judicial law, irrelevant of their age, ethnicity, culture or level of education. It’s a crime to take another person’s life. You do the crime you should do the time. If anyone is interested in facts instead of assumptions, take a look at Wikipedia.'Blanche

  • miquette.caalsen - 2012-02-02 08:55

    Question? Didn't one of the other articles on this case say that the mother understood Afrikaans when they took her and her son to go and point out the crime scenes? So if she understood, and she's the guardian ... since the detective was speaking Afrikaans and the translator was translating to Tswana (what's the odds this kid didn't have a good grasp of the Afrikaans language anyway - at this point in time and in that area) and his mother was right there with him, I think a case can be made to say that the boy did indeed have access to ALL the information and communications that took place.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-02-02 09:19

    for all the hate leveled at the west and whites, its strange that these people so quickly adopted the American system of legal representation. This is a sad day for this country, with us now being fully aware that legal cases will no longer be tried on the facts but rather on disputes as to the meaning of words, and using loopholes to evade justice. I think we will soon start seeing a lot more of the criminal element walking free because this or that wasn't read properly or wasn't signed etc, even in cases where the defendant is caught red handed in the act.

  • Shirley - 2012-02-02 10:46

    Grasping at straws! The way the lawyers are allowed to manipulate certain things in cases is a crime itself. They arre guilty-let them fry!

  • Michelle - 2012-02-02 11:00

    Lost in translation?? Wasn't that a movie?? This excuse is just as unreal!!!

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