Patterico's Pontifications

12/16/2013

Bogus Interpreter at Mandela Memorial Helped Burn a Guy to Death

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The Secret Service seems to be doing the same great job other folks at the White House are:

The bogus sign language interpreter at last week’s Nelson Mandela memorial service was among a group of people who accosted two men found with a stolen television and burned them to death by setting fire to tires placed around their necks, one of the interpreter’s cousins and three of his friends told The Associated Press Monday.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 7.28.40 AM

It’s not the first time a fan of “necklacing” with a violent past has gotten close to a world leader. I’m told Nelson Mandela was once in close proximity to Winnie Mandela.

61 Comments

  1. I wonder if this is a particular problem with state funerals, given the short notice, and if the host country’s security services are necessarily relied upon. The indictment here might be best aimed at the SA government, which seems unbelievably remiss.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:00 am

  2. So IOW he was an ANC party goon. That’s how he got his signing job, reward for all his killing for the cause.

    He will probably end up in Chicago. Obama was in no danger from this guy.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:11 am

  3. If this is true, then it’s appropriate that this aspect of Mandella’s legacy was represented at his funeral, at least in spirit.

    Comment by JVW (709bc7) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:29 am

  4. that must’ve been the circle and Bic flick he signed with?

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (8a6873) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:36 am

  5. Jim Treacher: “There was an incoherent fraud onstage during Obama’s eulogy for Nelson Mandela

    Also, that sign-language guy was a fake.”

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:45 am

  6. How did such a character get that close to all of those world “leaders”?

    Comment by JD (5c1832) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:46 am

  7. South Africa, Pre-Mandela: Violent shithole.
    South Africa, Mandela Era: Violent shithole.
    South Africa, Post-Mandela: Violent shithole.

    Comment by CrustyB (5a646c) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:47 am

  8. How did such a character get that close to all of those world “leaders”?

    like attracts like?

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:53 am

  9. Just another rogue government interpreter.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 12/16/2013 @ 9:13 am

  10. I actually don’t find “necklacing” a house burglar objectionable. But that’s just harsh, judgmental, right wing, fascist me. And you are right about the general level of competence here. Sad to say It’ll continue until the next 9-11 event and then we may wake up.

    Comment by glenn (647d76) — 12/16/2013 @ 9:21 am

  11. Greetings:

    Well, as regards our Secret Service agents, perhaps, the prostitutes in South Africa just weren’t up to snuff.

    Comment by 11B40 (e0f449) — 12/16/2013 @ 9:35 am

  12. south africa must have a lot of tires just lying around everywhere

    not attractive

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 12/16/2013 @ 10:21 am

  13. Don’t you know that according to Obama’s EEOC, criminal background checks are racial discrimination? Think I’m making it up? Read it form the horse’s patootie. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-11-13.cfm So Obama was just being consistent.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/16/2013 @ 10:41 am

  14. The interpreter has killed a lot less people than Obama has killed.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 12/16/2013 @ 12:08 pm

  15. So, IOW he and the president have a lot in common.
    [drone strikes]

    Comment by Icy (62538f) — 12/16/2013 @ 12:33 pm

  16. How did South Africa NOT have preparations for a Mandela state funeral ?
    He was 95, and in declining health, for heaven’s sake.
    They should have already had a list of vetted contractors, vendors, security, and uh, sign language interpreters ready to go.

    Good Allah.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 1:36 pm

  17. in the throes of an intense mandela deathgasm sometimes it’s hard to pay attention to all the details

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 12/16/2013 @ 1:52 pm

  18. R.I.P. Oscar-winning actress, Joan Fontaine, who passed away Sunday at age 96. Her older sister, Olivia da Havilland, is alive and kicking at age 97.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 2:01 pm

  19. How did South Africa…

    you just answered your own question.

    (cue the inevitable cry of “raycisss” for pointing out the obvious %-)

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 12/16/2013 @ 2:17 pm

  20. 11. Whitewalls

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/16/2013 @ 3:32 pm

  21. <3 Olivia de Havilland

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:26 pm

  22. Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 1:36 pm

    They should have already had a list of vetted vetted contractors, vendors, security, and uh, sign language interpreters ready to go.

    Good Allah.

    They did. He was vetted, and had been used before.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/mandela-memorial-interpreter-speaks-in-his-own-defense/

    In another, deeply uncomfortable interview with a Johannesburg radio station, Talk Radio 702, Mr. Jantjie noted that he had previously interpreted for senior South African officials, including President Jacob Zuma, without any complaints.

    I think this is the interview:

    http://soundcloud.com/primediabroadcasting/controversial-sign-interpreter

    The printed New York Daily News of Friday December 13, 2013, page 20 (substantially modified in the online version) quotes him as saying that interview:

    You must remember, you are talking about an interpreter who has been interpreting these years. And if I was interpreting wrong these years, why should it become an issue now? I think I’ve been a champion of sign language.

    The (printed newspaper) article adds:

    Officials with the Deaf Federation of South Africa claim they had complained about Jantjie before, but they were ignored by the African National Congress.

    This looks like the current revised version of that article:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/deaf-interpreter-nelson-mandela-memorial-fake-officials-article-1.1544251

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:30 pm

  23. Correction. I left out a word or two:

    http://soundcloud.com/primediabroadcasting/controversial-sign-interpreter

    The printed New York Daily News of Friday December 13, 2013, page 20 (substantially modified in the online version) quotes him as saying in that interview:

    You must remember, you are talking about an interpreter who has been interpreting through these years. And if I was interpreting wrong these years, why should it become an issue now? I think I’ve been a champion of sign language.

    The people who supplied him (he worked at a cut rate) forgot that their usual excuses would not work here.

    Firts, in many cases, probably, the sign langage interpretation was used where nobody needed it.

    If somebody did, then maybe they didn’t know how to complain.

    If there was a complaint, they could say:

    1) His native language is not English, but Xhosa.

    2) He is not a professional interpreter, but he speaks sign langauge at the school for the deaf.

    3) He made a few mistakes because he got rattled -because he has schizophrenia.

    In actuality, it seems like he didn’t know a single word of sign language.

    The people doing this were so used to it, they forgot that in this case it shouldn’t be done.

    This was taped – everyone could see exactly what he signed – and broadast to a worldwide audience.

    They should have had and used at least one genuine sign language interpreter.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:35 pm

  24. Now they’ve disappeared:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/world/africa/mandela-memorial-interpreter.html?_r=0

    Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the deputy minister for women, children and people with disabilities, told reporters that Mr. Jantjie’s first language was Xhosa, among the most widespread among South Africa’s 11 official tongues.

    “He could speak sign language with his peers, but he is not a professional sign language interpreter,” she said. “The English was a bit too much for him.”

    Mr. Jantjie was paid $77 a day — a fraction of the usual rate of $125 to $164 an hour, said Ms. Bogopane-Zulu, the first minister to break an official silence about the episode…..Ms. Bogopane-Zulu insisted that Mr. Jantjie had been vetted but said an investigation was underway into his security clearance. “I don’t think he was just picked up from the street,” she said. “He comes from a school for the deaf.”

    Ms. Bogopane-Zulu said the owners of the company that supplied Mr. Jantjie had disappeared. “We’ve managed to get hold of them,” she said, “and then we spoke to them wanting some answers and they vanished into thin air, because it’s a clear indication that over the years they have managed to get away with this. They have been providing substandard sign language interpreting to many of their clients, and nobody has picked up.”

    It’s not true, though, that nobody picked up on this.

    From the online New York Daily News article:

    He was moving his hands around, but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for,” said Bruno Druchen, national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa.

    Experts agreed that he was not signing American sign languages or any of South Africa’s 11 official languages. But he still managed to stay on stage for the duration of the service, leaving leaders in the deaf community outraged.

    “He was a complete fraud,” Cara Loening, director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town, told Agence France-Presse.

    Officials said Jantjie provided his bizarre brand of sign language interpretation for an event last year attended by South African President Jacob Zuma. A formal complaint was submitted to the African National Congress, Druchen said.

    But the ANC never responded to the complaint, according to Druchen. He said a new complaint will be filed because of the farce at the Mandela memorial service.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:43 pm

  25. Sammy,

    You just made the Orwell Hall of Fame.

    Look, when I’m talking about a sign language interpreter being vetted, I’m talking about how they missed the fact that he;
    A) has a history of violence
    B) does not know sign language well enough to be a proper interpreter.

    Sammy, how you can still claim he’s been properly vetted is something only God knows.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:46 pm

  26. Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Sammy, how you can still claim he’s been properly vetted is something only God knows.

    I didn’t say he was properly vetted.

    I said he was vetted.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/world/africa/mandela-memorial-interpreter.html?_r=0

    Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the deputy minister for women, children and people with disabilities, told reporters… that Mr. Jantjie had been vetted but said an investigation was underway into his security clearance. “I don’t think he was just picked up from the street,” she said. “He comes from a school for the deaf.”

    I don’t anybody was in any danger, though. Even though he was hored as an inerpreter, he was probably still put through a metal detector, and as for his inherent violent tendencies, that’s probably a fake, too.

    He has what you might call a “Get-out-of-jail-free” card. A “yellow certificate.”

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/16/2013 @ 4:59 pm

  27. What always amuses me about Sammy is how he is so very particular about what other people write, insisting on precision, splitting hairs like a microtome…and yet when you look at his posts, he keeps writing things like:

    “… he was probably still put through a metal detector, and as for his inherent violent tendencies, that’s probably a fake, too ….”

    I guess it all depends on the meaning of “is,” you know? What an unusual fellow.

    Comment by Simon Jester (c8876d) — 12/16/2013 @ 5:09 pm

  28. Bad deaf sign language interpreters are a First World problem. Anybody care to dispute it?

    So this is a sign that South Africa is not a Third World country. A good thing in other words.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/16/2013 @ 5:22 pm

  29. RIP Ray Price.

    Comment by Yoda (ee1de0) — 12/16/2013 @ 5:49 pm

  30. MY Guess? Every managment position for the Secret Service is held by a black man.

    Comment by Jack (a1d158) — 12/16/2013 @ 6:45 pm

  31. This was not that long ago;

    In 2006, private security personnel went on strike across South Africa. The strike lasted 96 days and cost the industry more than a million working days.[5] The strike was supported by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and 15 other trade unions.[6] The striking workers looted and damaged property, and committed violent crimes.[7][8]

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:01 pm

  32. Her older sister, Olivia da Havilland, is alive and kicking at age 97.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/16/2013 @ 2:01 pm

    I’ll give you the “alive” part… but “kicking”???

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (a442a5) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:05 pm

  33. HMM: In response to reports that they’re talking about amnesty for Snowden, reader George Wilson emails: “I wonder if Snowden’s secret weapon is proof that the politicized NSA spied on the Romney campaign.” Well, that would be news.

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/181032/

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (a442a5) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:07 pm

  34. No, I think it’s something much bigger, we know all that we found out with wikileaks, and that was relatively narrow band of transmission, state department cables,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:13 pm

  35. You mean Putin’s secret weapon. Or Xi Jinping’s secret weapon. Snowden is not in control of his fate. Has not been since he landed in China. At this point, I take “Snowden’s revelations” to be the FSB’s press releases.

    (Man, I am in a foul mood. I cut down on my carbs and sugars, probably that’s why. I need a double helping of beef stew with two slices of triple chocolate layer cake.)

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:18 pm

  36. You quit cold turkey, didn’t try to ease your way down,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:24 pm

  37. Cold turkey has got he… on teh run.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (a442a5) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:36 pm

  38. chocolate cake, tall glass of whole milk, more chocolate cake, more milk, and the beat goes on.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:41 pm

  39. Beyond the flap with the sign-language interpreter, it was interesting that at the memorial service the current president of South Africa was booed repeatedly while a white predecessor of his (Frederik de Klerk) was treated a bit more positively. However, any hope that was a sign of ideological balance on the part of the audience was easily offset by their cheering repeatedly for extremist Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and responding more favorably to Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Mandela, instead of the current wife, Graca Machel.

    I’m still waiting for an example of a nation — anywhere, anyplace — that is ideologically of normative conservative bent and that’s also full of the kind of socio-economic mediocrity or dysfunction that roils societies like South
    Africa.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:44 pm

  40. Well I would suggest transition in stages, like from ‘chartered accountancy through banking, on the way to lion taming,’

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:46 pm

  41. ‘It’s China Town, Mark’ what can I tell you, interestingly that film was a retconning of the whole Mulholland water war, which actually happened a generation behind when it was set.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 7:49 pm

  42. What do you define as “normative conservative”, Mark? Really? What areas of behavior do you grade on? Sex? Religion? Art? Literature? Music? Add you own, please.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:19 pm

  43. Well past is prologue with South Africa, for two generations the country was run by an authoritarian, seemingly puritanical, zenophobic regime,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:30 pm

  44. Similarly, with Argentina and Bolivia, they did have experiences with austerity regimes that seemed somewhat harsh.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:51 pm

  45. What do you define as “normative conservative”, Mark?

    nk, in general terms, at least a respect for the phrase “common sense” and an understanding of the pros and cons of human nature. Also, a true admiration for honesty, meaning not just cheap lip service of “oh, I’d never lie to you.”

    Practical-minded rightism may sound nebulous in a way, but I’ve often detected qualities of it, or a lack of such, referring to those who are prone to screwball liberalism, in people I’ve spoken with and debated through the years.

    Also, there are part of the Middle East that in certain ways can be described as fundamentally conservative. But when, for example, women are required to run around in a chador or whipped for having been the victim of rape, that ain’t normative.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/16/2013 @ 8:54 pm

  46. Wouldn’t it be more surprising if someone near the Preezy wasn’t a fraud, an incompetent, and/or a thug?

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/16/2013 @ 9:56 pm

  47. The interpreters are props of the left. It makes no difference whether they actually interpret. There job is to make the left feel good about itself and nothing else.

    Comment by AZ Bob (ade845) — 12/16/2013 @ 10:13 pm

  48. Exactly, AZ Bob. Given real-time closed captioning these days. How many people who rely on signing are 1) at these events and 2) care what some politician has to say? Live and not on a TV screen? A lot fewer than people who take their shi-tzu to the pet salon for a shampoo and manicure on any given day, would be my guess.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/16/2013 @ 10:22 pm

  49. 46. The interpreters are props of the left. It makes no difference whether they actually interpret. There job is to make the left feel good about itself and nothing else.

    Comment by AZ Bob (ade845) — 12/16/2013 @ 10:13 pm

    I think this was the first time in Thamsanqa Jantjie’s career of fraud when it actually did make a difference what he was actually signing. Apparently he was used at ANC events prior to this, and no one was at those events to notice.

    But he was a useful prop that the ANC used to impress all their leftwing supporters and made them feel good about how inclusive they were. There may not have been any deaf people who were invited but they had a guy signing on stage.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/16/2013 @ 11:59 pm

  50. By the way, this is all a big misunderstanding. Thamsanqa Jantjie was not at Mandela’s memorial service as a sign language interpreter.

    He was signalling to Obama that since he had made it to second base he should try to steal home.

    With the Danish PM.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 1:40 am

  51. There job is to make the left feel good about itself and nothing else.

    From A to Z, that pretty much sums up the left in general. Cheap compassion, ersatz tolerance and hollow generosity. And too many people who even wince at the suspicious or flaky nature of left-leaning sentiments and its biggest fans nonetheless fall for the idea of “well, liberals do mean well.” A perfect example of that: a recent opinion poll that indicates a larger percentage of people — even today — still say Democrats will handle healthcare better than Republicans.

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:24 am

  52. RIP Jackie Gleason.

    OK, he died a long time ago, but as long as we’re posting OT RIPs…

    Comment by CrustyB (5a646c) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:08 am

  53. I remember Saturday Night Live once had a skit with an interpreter for the hard of Hearing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Q0cyJSs04

    I think they did this a number of times.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:32 pm

  54. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKQoRtH-Ej0

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:34 pm

  55. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/obama-mandela-cold-open/n44342/

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:41 pm

  56. Sammy #25,

    C’mon, pal, that’s disingenous.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:29 pm

  57. >Comment by Elephant Stone on 12/16/2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Sammy, how you can still claim he’s been properly vetted is something only God knows.

    25. SF on 12/16/2013 @ 4:59 pm:

    I didn’t say he was properly vetted.

    I said he was vetted.

    55. Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:29 pm

    Sammy #25,

    C’mon, pal, that’s disingenous.

    No, no. It’s a totally different (and much more far reaching) scandal than what you posited. You said:

    15.How did South Africa NOT have preparations for a Mandela state funeral ?
    He was 95, and in declining health, for heaven’s sake.
    They should have already had a list of vetted contractors, vendors, security, and uh, sign language interpreters ready to go.

    Good Allah.

    But the thing is the did know he was going to die, they did have preparatons, they did have a list of vetted contractors, security, sign language interpreters.

    The vetting was all wrong. The process of hiring was corrupt.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:56 pm

  58. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/12/12/mandela-sign-language-interpreter-thamsanqa-jantjie/3995875/

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:05 pm

  59. Sammy, if the vetting was wrong, then they weren’t vetted.

    “Vetted” means checked out to see if they’re kosher. That guy wasn’t kosher.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:07 pm

  60. 56. But the thing is the did know he was going to die, they did have preparatons, they did have a list of vetted contractors, security, sign language interpreters.

    The vetting was all wrong. The process of hiring was corrupt.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:56 pm

    Sammy, there is a huge difference between having a list of vetted contractors and a list of approved cronies. A corrupt hiring system produces the latter type of list, not the former.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:27 pm

  61. 58. Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:07 pm

    Sammy, if the vetting was wrong, then they weren’t vetted.

    “Vetted” means checked out to see if they’re kosher.

    I thought vetting means any kind of pre-approval process. I am not sure it can ever mean anything more.

    That guy wasn’t kosher.

    It was people doing the vetting who weren’t kosher!!

    On paper, he was probably fine, or good enough.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/18/2013 @ 12:23 pm

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