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DPSA blasts 'fake interpreter'

The body says Thamsanqa Jantjie was allowed to make a mockery of disabled people.

Thami Jantjie is accused of using fake sign language at Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Disabled People SA (DPSA) on Thursday said it is outraged that sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie was allowed to make a mockery of disabled people during one of South Africa's most important events.

Jantjie is accused of using fake sign language at Nelson Mandela's memorial service at the FNB Stadium near Soweto on Tuesday.

He apparently made reference to prawns and rocking horses instead of displaying what was actually being said by the speakers.

This sparked outrage and embarrassment among the local and international deaf community.

DPSA CEO Jabulane Blose says it is not the first time Jantjie has misinterpreted speakers at an important event.

Jantjie is commonly used to interpret at events held at Luthuli House and is notorious for muddling speeches and statements on national television, the body said.

Blose said he was deeply disappointed by the procurement system that failed to pick this up.

"Any procurement system should have been able to ensure the best and qualified interpreters are deployed for that monumental occasion."

Jantjie confirmed this morning that he suffers from schizophrenia.

He says the excitement got the better of him and resulted in a minor nervous breakdown.

Meanwhile, the former statesman's body lies in state for a second day at the Union Buildings.

The global icon will be laid to rest at his rural village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.