Fake Sign Interpreter: ANC Re-discovers Difference Between Party, State

South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has spent twenty years enthusiastically blurring the boundary between the ruling party and the state. It has appointed cronies ("cadres") to every office, taken over all independent state institutions, enriched itself in the name of economic redistribution, and used the public broadcaster as a propaganda outlet. In short, it has undermined constitutional democracy.

Now, faced with the blame for using a fake sign language interpreter at the memorial for Nelson Mandela, the ANC is blaming the state--even though it admitted that the same interpreter had been used at many previous ANC events. (Advocates for the deaf said that they had complained to the ANC in the past about him, but such complaints had not resulted in any action being taken.) The South African Press Association reports:

"Since yesterday [Wednesday], the African National Congress has been inundated with enquiries from local and international media regarding the sign language interpreter," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

"The ANC confirms that the organisation has over the years utilised the services of Thamsanqa Jantjie. The official memorial service held for president Mandela, however, was organised by the state and not the ANC."

Mthembu said the way Jantjie's services were procured were thus government and not ANC processes.

"Because of this, the ANC is not in a position to offer a view on how his services were secured by government," he said.


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