The media is blaming this on incompetence. And sure South Africa is really badly run. Really, really badly run. But when a man gets a plum post and his police records vanish, there’s a much more obvious explanation.
Thamsanqa Jantjie is well-connected within the African National Congress.
Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, was exposed as a fraud by experts after he signed “nonsense” during the four-hour ceremony as he stood next to a number of heads of state including US President Barack Obama.
Mr Jantjie, who has been treated for schizophrenia, was reportedly charged with murder in 2003, as well as rape in 1994, theft in 1995, breaking into a house in 1997, malicious damage to property in 1998, and attempted murder and kidnapping in 2003.
They report that Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, but he was convicted of theft for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. It is unclear whether he has ever served a jail sentence. It is thought many of the charges against him, the earliest of which dates back to 1994, were dropped as he was deemed unfit to stand trial.
Mr Jantjie was acquitted on the rape charge, but he was convicted of theft for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. It’s unclear if he ever spent time in jail.
Court records reveal that the 2003 murder, attempted murder and kidnapping case against Mr Jantjie and other people, was referred to the South Gauteng High Court in 2004. It was finalised in November 2006, but the court file for the case is empty.
The South African government says it is aware of reports that he once faced a murder charge.
We’ve got a man who has been charged with some of the worst crimes possible (though rape is horrifyingly common in South Africa) whose records are rather empty, who doesn’t appear to have served any time in jail and who was given a job that he was completely unqualified for.
This is how the African National Congress really runs South Africa.
Contacted by The Daily Telegraph, Mr Jantjie declined to answer questions about his alleged criminal record and hung up. “I am an icon! I am an icon!” he said. “Why are you persecuting me? Leave me alone!”