Fake signer's criminal past comes to light

Fake signer's criminal past comes to light

He is not just accused of making up signs. The South African sign interpreter has faced charges over murder, rape and kidnapping.

Mr Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, made headlines for the wrong reasons when he was accused of making up his own signs during a memorial to South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg early this week, the Mail Online reported.

Mr Mandela, 95, died on Dec 5.

Mr Jantjie stood just a few feet from US President Barack Obama and others who spoke at Tuesday's ceremony that was broadcast around the world.

South African news website eNCA reported that Mr Jantjie, who has schizophrenia, has faced charges over rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003).

The website said it was unclear if the 2003 murder case was concluded as the court file was found to be empty during its investigations.

It also reported that many of the charges brought against him were dropped, allegedly because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.

Mr Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, but he was convicted of theft for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.

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