Justice dept unaware of interpreter issues

2014-03-04 12:03
People walk outside the North Gauteng High Court ahead of the Oscar Pistorius trial. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

People walk outside the North Gauteng High Court ahead of the Oscar Pistorius trial. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

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Johannesburg - The justice department was unaware of any concerns relating to the interpreter in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court, spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said on Tuesday.

"The justice department has noted media reports relating to the interpretation in Mr Oscar Pistorius criminal proceedings that are currently underway," he said in a statement.

"We wish to state that the performance of court officials, in particular an interpreter, is critical to proper administration of justice. However, the department cannot comment on the proceedings in view of the matter being sub judice..."

Mhaga said the presiding officer Judge Thokozile Masipa was busy with proceedings and it was for her to deal with concerns that come from both parties involved in the matter.

"To this end, the department is not aware of any concerns raised and would therefore allow the wheels of justice to continue to be in motion," he said.

"We have full confidence that justice will prevail. However during trial the interpreters will be rotated in terms of our schedule as and when it's necessary."


On Monday, the interpreting from Afrikaans to English was questioned in the court.

Pistorius's counsel Barry Roux, SC, had heard witness Michelle Burger testify that the night after the shooting she was "deurmekaar" - which the interpreter translated as confused.

As Roux rounded in on the word "confused", the judge interrupted.

"Is there a difficulty between you and the interpreter?" asked Masipa.

Burger said: "She is interpreting what I am saying. Some of the words are not what I am saying and then I am correcting in English."

She said she was willing to speak English and then change to Afrikaans.

Masipa said she should make up her mind and Burger settled for Afrikaans.

Pistorius, 27, is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day last year and contravening the Firearms Control Act.

He has said he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a closed toilet door.
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  pistorius trial  |  judiciary

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