The schizophrenic South African sign language interpreter who said he hallucinated during Nelson Mandela’s memorial on Tuesday reportedly has an extensive criminal record, including murder, rape and kidnapping charges.
According to South African news network eNCA, Thamsanqa Jantjie has “faced rape (1994), theft (1995), housebreaking (1997), malicious damage to property (1998), murder, attempted murder and kidnapping (2003) charges.”
Despite his record, the station said it was not clear whether Jantjie has ever served time in prison, as “many of the charges brought against him were dropped, allegedly because he was mentally unfit to stand trial.”
Even more bizarrely, it was not clear whether the murder charge against Jantjie from 2003 was ever properly resolved because the court file against him is “mysteriously empty,” eNCA reported.
Jantjie, who told the press on Thursday that he suffers from schizophrenia and has been violent in the past, stood next to US President Barack Obama and other world leaders and dignitaries during the ceremony honoring the late South African president and civil rights leader in Johannesburg.
His extensive reported criminal background raises additional questions about the security protocols in place at Mandela’s memorial that permitted Jantjie to stand feet from such high profile persons.
Heck of a job there, Valerie, and the Secret Service. On the other hand, perhaps we’ve misjudged Thamsanqa — he’s a much more fun-lovin’ guy than the above article indicates: