Mos Def could face prison time

Mos Def could face prison time

American hip hop artist and actor Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def could face up to four years in prison.

Mos Def_gallo
File photo: Gallo Images

American hip hop artist and actor Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def could face up to four years in prison.

Bey is expected to appear in court in early March on charges of contravening the Immigration Act, after he attempted to leave the country using fraudulent documents.

Director-General for the Department of Home Affairs Mkuseli Apleni on Wednesday said Bey used a World Government of World Citizens passport, which South Africa does not recognise.

He was with his family in Cape Town when he produced the World Passport, instead of his American passport, which he has previously used to get into South Africa.

While Bey, born Dante Smith, still had a valid visitor’s visa, his wife and child had overstayed their visit. “Their visitor’s visas (valid for 90 days) had expired in April 2014, and were therefore in the country illegally,” said Apleni. His family has been ordered to leave the country by 29 January.

According to Apleni the 42-year-old has been charged with (a) presenting a document not issued by a legal authority, (b) aiding and abetting his family to stay in the country illegally, and (c) making a false representation by using a false identification document. According to the Immigration Act, if guilty, he could be issued with a fine, or in the case of the third charge, face a maximum sentence of four years.

He was last week released on R5000 bail in the Bellville Magistrate's Court.

“No more parties in SA”

Most recently, Bey sent a voice message to fellow hip-hop artist Kanye West, in which he claimed to have been detained unlawfully and that he previously used his World Passport to gain access to the country. “No more parties in SA, please tell 'em no more parties in SA,” he said.

Apleni in turn assured that a warrant was obtained for his arrest and that proper procedure was adhered to. While Bey has been a frequent visitor to South Africa, Apleni said he had always used his US passport and visitor’s visa.

The rapper first came to South Africa in June 2013 and returned roughly 10 times since then. He returned to Cape Town at the end of November, again using his official US passport and visitor’s visa, valid until 28 February.

(File photo: Gallo Images)

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