Good day and once more welcome.
We have called this media briefing to make an announcement on the latest developments regarding the matter of United States’ (US) musician and actor, Mr Smith Bey, aka Mos Def.
Earlier in the year, Mr Smith Bey was arrested in Cape Town following his attempt to leave South Africa using a document called a world passport, which South Africa does not recognise as a valid passport.
Following this incident, the department levelled criminal charges against him. Before that process was finalised, the department received a written apology from Mr Smith Bey, for contravening the provisions of the Immigration Act, No. 13 of 2002. Mr Smith Bey had also contravened the South African Passports and Travel Documents Act, No. 4 of 1994.
In his apology, he acknowledges and accepts that the Immigration Act (No. 13 2002) sets in place a system of immigration control, which, inter alia, regulates and administers foreigners’ entry into, residence in and departure from the Republic of South Africa, and that, in so doing, the Immigration Act prescribes that a foreigner may only depart from the Republic of South Africa (RSA) if he/she is in possession of a valid passport.
Further, Mr Smith Bey has also stated that he acknowledges and accepts that a foreigner may only depart from the Republic upon presentation of a valid passport, and that a world passport is not a valid passport in terms of the Immigration Act. This is clearly a vindication of the position we had taken on this matter, including the fact that we do not recognise the world passport.

Mr Smith Bey has unreservedly apologised to the Government of South Africa and more particularly to the Department of Home Affairs for his actions and for any inconvenience and/or prejudice this may have caused.

The department is satisfied with the apology, and has agreed in principle for him to depart from South Africa on Tuesday, 22 November 2016. Based on his apology and the confirmation that he will depart on 22 November 2016, using a valid passport, the department will withdraw the charges against him, on Friday, 25 November 2016, in his absence.

To this end, Mr Smith Bey has applied for and will be travelling out of the republic on a US passport. This was also our argument earlier, that before his arrest, he had been a frequent traveller to the country, travelling on a valid US passport. His travel itinerary has also been confirmed.

As we had said at the time of his arrest, South Africa would have no reason, as a sovereign state, to refuse anybody entry, sojourn, or departure, as long as such travel is legal. 

There are laws in place to be respected by all persons the better to protect all citizens and all visitors. This way we promote the rule of law, and ensure all people in the country are and feel safe.

For his conduct, Mr Smith Bey will be declared an undesirable person, by the Director-General of Home Affairs in terms of Section 30 of the Immigration Act of 2002. He will therefore not qualify for a port of entry visa or admission to the republic.

However, Mr Smith Bey may apply for a waiver, for good cause, in terms of Section 30(2) of the Immigration Act of 2002.

I would like to thank warmly our officials at the port of entry for their vigilance and understanding of the Immigration Act. It really gives us confidence that the country is in good hands.

I thank you.

For media enquiries contact Thabo Mokgola or Mayihlome Tshweteon 060 962 4982