JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The official sign language interpreter at
The man, whose identity has not been made public, just seemed to make up random gestures that bore no relationship to sign language interpreting for deaf people, the critics said.
Government spokesman Collins Chabane said the government would investigate the issue after events commemorating former president Mandela were over.
Organizations representing deaf people reacted with indignation at the bizarre interpretation, saying it made a mockery of them.
"Get him off," tweeted Wilma Newhoudt, deaf South African lawmaker, during the service.
The scandal was one of several glaring problems in South Africa's organization of the Mandela memorial events and funeral. For one thing, there was a large number of empty seats in the stadium for the Mandela memorial; secondly, there were many complaints of inadequate or nonexistent security checks on public attendees at the memorial, despite there being more than 90 world leaders in one place.
There was also the embarrassing booing of South African President
Other logistical problems, including President
Former South African newspaper editor Nic Dawes dubbed it an "omni-shambles."
Others said problems were inevitable when pulling together an event of such magnitude in just a few days.
The interpreter in question has been used before at ANC events. South African media reported Wednesday that complaints had been made to the ANC last year about his signing abilities.
Newhoudt said DeafSA complained in mid-2012 about the man's interpretation of a speech by Zuma but never got a response.