Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

ARRESTED US-born musician and actor Dante Smith launched a salvo at the South African government on Wednesday morning, accusing the Department of Home Affairs of detaining him on fictitious grounds.

Mr Smith was arrested last week when he tried to leave Cape Town, where he had been living for more than two years after renouncing his American citizenship.

The department said he entered SA with a US passport but presented a world passport upon departure, which SA does not recognise.

Mr Smith, whose stage name is Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), released an audio message through the website of multi-award-winning artist Kanye West, saying he broke no laws and claims that he tried to leave SA with fictitious documents were false.

"It (the world passport) is not meant to deceive or derive unlawful benefit from any nation’s state, at all. In fact, the world passport has been accepted here on numerous occasions in SA, in Johannesburg and Cape Town as early as 1996 and as late as 2015," Mr Smith said.

While he had enjoyed living in SA, he now intended to cut all ties with the country once he was allowed to leave, he said. He was originally given two weeks to leave SA upon his arrest but is due to go to court in March.

"We don’t have to be enemies and we don’t have to be friends either. My family and I are prepared, immediately, to make whatever move that we need to make outside of this state, never to return to this state again. We don’t have to be here. We’re not pining to be here, and we’re complying in every possible way, reasonably," he said.

Mr Smith also announced his retirement from music. His final album is coming out this year.

The Department of Home Affairs said it would issue a briefing on the matter on Wednesday.