Celebrity case offers a lesson to travelers

28 Nov 16

SOUTH AFRICA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Hip-hop artist Mos Def has resolved his case with the South African government, admitting that his use of a “world passport” violated the country’s immigration laws. The American musician and activist will be put on the list of “undesirable persons” and will be barred from entering South Africa unless he first obtains a waiver from the Director-General of the South African Department of Home Affairs.

What does the change mean? The case signals that South Africa is serious about applying the Immigration Act, entry bans and criminal prosecution to all travelers, even high-profile and frequent visitors to South Africa.

Background: Mos Def was detained in Cape Town earlier this year when he attempted to leave the country using a “world passport,” which South Africa does not recognize. South African prosecutors also sought to bring criminal charges against the musician. Under the settlement announced by the South African government, Mos Def apologized for his conduct and agreed to leave the country by the end of last week on a U.S. passport. The South African government, in turn, agreed to drop the criminal charges pending against Mos Def but will still bar him from re-entering the country until he has secured a waiver of inadmissibility.

B·A·L Analysis: Travelers to South Africa are reminded that provisions of the Immigration Act, including re-entry bars for individuals declared “undesirable persons,” are in effect and will be strictly enforced.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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