US musician and actor Mos Def, aka Yasiin Bey, never entered the country using a world passport, the Home Affairs Department said on Wednesday.
“He has entered South Africa 10 times, and has always entered the country on a visitor’s visa [90 days exemption] using a US Passport, not a World Passport,” director general Mkuseli Apleni told reporters in Pretoria.
He last arrived in South Africa on a visitor’s passport on 30 November 2015. It was due to expire on 28 February 2016. He tried to leave South Africa in January using another document, and not his US passport, with which he had initially entered.
The artist, born Dante Terrell Smith, was arrested last week after he tried to leave Cape Town by using an unrecognised “world passport”.
Immigration officials at Cape Town International Airport declined it, said home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete.
Bey claimed he had been able to enter and exit the country using the document before.
The World Government of World Citizens says the world passport represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth. Its website lists the countries that have accepted the document in the past, with photographic proof. South Africa is on the list.
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,” said Apleni.
Bey was out on R5000 bail. News24