Officials linked to 'fake' Mandela interpreter have resigned: report
A sign language interpreter during a memorial service at FNB Stadium in honor of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, near Johannesburg on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP / Evan Vucci)
Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:47AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:56AM EST
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Two officials of South Africa's ruling party who were linked to a bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial have resigned from the African National Congress, South African media reported Tuesday.
The New Age newspaper reported that the former officials from the ruling ANC are Bantubahle Xozwa, alleged owner of a company that had hired the bogus interpreter and former head of the ANC's religious and traditional affairs desk, and his wife Cikizwa, who had been a personal assistant to a senior party spokesman.
The South African Press Association quoted Keith Khoza, another party spokesman, as saying the ANC employees had resigned.
"No reasons were given," SAPA quoted Khoza as saying. "They just submitted their resignation letter. It happened in December after the incident."
Xozwa has said the interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, was not working for the company at the Dec. 10 Mandela memorial inside a soccer stadium, at which he stood close to U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders and signed gibberish.
Jantjie said he has schizophrenia, hallucinated and believed he saw angels during the memorial. Experts say his signs were meaningless.
Friends said Jantjie was also involved in the mob killing of two men in 2003, but was found mentally unfit to stand trial.
Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's first black president, died on Dec. 5 at the age of 95.