JOHANNESBURG (AP) — American rapper Mos Def's family appeared in court on Tuesday to stop their deportation from South Africa, a South African official said.
A judge ruled that lawyers representing the rapper's wife and child could argue why they should be allowed to stay, said Mayihlome Tshwete, spokesman for the Department of Home Affairs. They will return to court on Feb. 17, he said. Officials had ordered their deportation because their visitors' visas expired in April 2014.
"South Africa's immigration laws are black and white," said Tshwete. "We are as interested as everyone to hear why they think our laws should be overturned."
Separately, actor and rapper Mos Def faces criminal charges for breaking South Africa's immigration laws. He was released on bail and will appear in court on March 8. He was arrested in January after he tried to leave Cape Town International Airport using a document he described as a "world passport," which is not recognized as a valid document in South Africa.
Mos Def was charged with using a false identity, using an unrecognized travel document and helping his family stay in the country illegally, Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said during a press briefing last month. Mos Def, born Dante Smith and now known as Yasiin Bey, has lived in South Africa since 2013 and entered the country 10 times using a U.S. passport, Apleni said.
Mos Def's world passport was issued by the World Service Authority, the administrative branch of the World Government of World Citizens, a Washington D.C.-based organization founded in 1953. The authority promotes the concept world citizenship and says the world passport represents the "inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth."
Follow Lynsey Chutel is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lynseychutel.