NPA unaware of Jantjie charges

Reports suggest the controversial sign language interpreter faced murder and kidnapping charges.

Thaminqa Jantjie is accused using fake sign language during former president Nelson Mandela’s national memorial service. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday said it can't confirm that controversial sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie faced charges of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.

eNCA is reporting that police and court records reveal that Jantjie was charged with the crimes in 2003.

But NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube says the body is not aware and can't confirm that he's ever been charged with any crimes.

Jantjie is accused using fake sign language during former president Nelson Mandela's national memorial service at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.

According to experts, he made reference to prawns and rocking horses, instead of displaying what speakers were saying on stage.

The incident sparked outrage and embarrassment among members of the local and international deaf community.

Many have accused Jantjie of making a mockery of the community, while others are questioning why the ANC frequently used him, despite previous complaints.

It also emerged on Thursday that Jantjie is a diagnosed schizophrenic and an outpatient.

He told the New York Times about his illness and said he saw angels while interpreting for the global dignitaries.

Two policemen later arrived at his Braamfisherville home in Soweto to take him to a psychiatric hospital, but he refused.

Jantjie told them he would not be dragged away like a coward as he wanted to first clear his name in order to protect his family.

He claims he is qualified and has been interpreting for years.

Jantjie said he was not himself on the day of the memorial service.