The sign language interpreter used in Nelson Mandela's memorial service was a fake, South Africa's deaf advocacy group claims.
The man, dressed in a dark suit and outfitted with a security pass, shared the stage with President Barack Obama and other world leaders who honored Mandela in Tuesday's memorial.
But the Deaf Federation of South Africa said his hand signals meant nothing.
"The so-called 'interpreter' who interpreted at the official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the 'fake interpreter' and the deaf community is in outrage," Bruno Druchen, national director of DeafSA, said in a statement.
"He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field."
Druchen sent this tweet as the event was taking place:
Please get RID of this CLOWN interpreter,please! pic.twitter.com/ziAZ4KBFNZ
— Bruno Peter Druchen (@BrunoDruchen) December 10, 2013
Wilma Newhoudt, a deaf member of South Africa's parliament, tweeted this:
— wilma newhoudt (@newhoudt) December 11, 2013
The Associated Press spoke with three sign language experts, who watched the broadcast and said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages.
A spokesman for the ruling African National Congress said the party did not employ him for the event.
"We have used him on some occasions but yesterday was not an ANC event so we cannot answer for yesterday," spokesman Jackson Mthembu told CNN.
South Africa's government said it was preparing a statement.
Watch excerpts from the interpreter signing here: