Well, at least the Secret Service was on top of this and kept the guy away from Obama. Oh, wait.
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.
But Thamsanqa Jantjie never went to trial for the 2003 killings when other suspects did in 2006 because authorities determined he was not mentally fit to stand trial, said the four. They insisted on speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the fake signing fiasco, which has deeply embarrassed South Africa’s government and prompted a high-level investigation into how it happened.
Their account of the killings matched a description of the crime and the outcome for Jantjie that he himself described in an interview published on Sunday by the Sunday Times newspaper of Johannesburg.
“It was a community thing, what you call mob justice, and I was also there,”Jantjie told the newspaper.
Jantjie was not at his house Monday, and the cousin told AP Jantjie had been picked up by someone in a car Sunday and had not returned. His cellphone rang through to an automatic message saying Jantjie was not reachable.
Necklacing was a long-time practice among the peace-loving South Africans, including Mandela’s former wife, Winnie.
Necklacing was a method of killing that was fairly common during the struggle against apartheid by blacks on blacks suspected of aiding the white government or belonging to opposing factions. The method was also used in tribal disputes in the 1980s and 1990s. While people who encounter suspect thieves in South Africa have been known to beat or kill them to mete out punishment, necklacing them has been rare.