On the 15th January, American entertainer, Dante Terrell Smith, commonly known as Mos Def was detained at the Cape Town International Airport for not having a valid passport, after living in South Africa since 2013.
Home Affairs ministerial spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete explained that the South African Police Service (SAPS) had charged the rapper with usage of fraudulent travel documents, and the matter has been taken to court.
“Mr Smith has been living in SA with his family without the necessary permits‚ he was detained upon departure for using illegal travel documents‚” Tshwete said of the charge Smith was facing.
The Home Affairs further confirmed that the rapper never entered South Africa using a world passport. According to the Home Affairs, Smith has entered the country 10 times and had always used a visitor’s visa, which only provides a 90 days exemption.
The Director General at the Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni explained that Smith arrived in South Africa on a visitor’s passport on 30 November 2015, which was due to expire on 28 February 2016. The rapper then tried to leave the country using another document and not his United States passport which he initially entered with.
Last week the rapper was then arrested for trying to leave the country with an unrecognised “world passport” however he argued that he had been able to enter and exit the country using that document before.
The World Government of World Citizens however stated that the world passport represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth. In their website, the organisation lists the countries that have accepted the document in the past, with photographic proof and that South Africa is on the list.
The Home Affairs refuted this claim and said it was guided by immigration regulations which only recognised documents from the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the African Development Bank.
"As you can see, the world passport is not recognised under Immigration Regulation 2 (4). Proper procedure was followed for his arrest. A warrant was obtained for his arrest. He faces charges of contravening the Immigration Act," Apleni explained.
As a response to the controversy, the rapper took to the media to ask fellow artists to boycott South Africa. The rapper furthermore, rapped on a track with famous fellow musician Kanye West, where he can be heard explicitly saying, “No More Parties in SA.”
He goes on to say, “I committed no crime, why is the state wasting my time,” he raps early on, before thanking West for “being a real friend."
The rapper has since claimed that he is being prevented from leaving, and that the authorities want to deport his family. And he denies that the “world passport” is a “fictitious document.” “I am not a liar,” he reassures.
Listen to the audio here: http://www.kanyewest.com/