The Department of Home Affairs has denied claims by American rapper and actor Yasiin Bey, better knows as Mos Def, that his arrest was politically motivated and that he has been spied on.
Bey is identified by his brith name Dante Tettell Smith on official documents. The artist was arrested at Cape Town International Airport last week, trying to board a flight to Ethiopia with a World Passport travel document. He was later released on bail of R5 000. The department yesterday said Smith is not allowed to leave the country until finalisation of his court case.
He is due to appear on March 8, in the Mother City. He has been charged for using a false identity, not issuing a legal travel document and aiding and abetting his family to stay illegally in the country. According to the department the World Passport travel document is not recognised in the country as an official travel document, and thus Smith was in contravention of section 2(4) of the immigration regulations.
Following his spat with SA immigration officials, Smith said in a message released via superstar rapper Kanye West’s Twitter feed: “I haven’t broken any law. And I’m being treated like a criminal.” In it he calls for “no more parties in SA” and claims he’s being spied on.
Yesterday Home Affairs director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, told reporters in Pretoria officials detained Smith following proper procedures. Apleni said Smith has previously entered the country 10 times since 2013. “He has always entered the country on a visitors visa using a United States passport, not a World Passport.” Apleni said when the artist attempted to leave, authorities did not accept the World Passport he submitted and his visa was still valid. It was also discovered Smith’s wife and a minor child (one of four) had overstayed their visit to the country.
“Their visas had expired in April 2014 and they were therefore in the country illegally,” said Apleni.