The SA Home Affairs Department on Sunday revealed that it has deported Lithuanian actress leva Andrejevaite for falsely claiming refugee status on arrival in the country without a valid visa.
The department said the actress “sought to abuse South Africa’s refugee management regime when she fabricated a story of wanting to apply for asylum because of the ‘war in Ukraine'”.
Giving details on the matter, the department said Andrejevaite arrived at the Cape Town International Airport in a private jet without a visa on 28 April 2022.
“Immigration officers rightly refused her entry. After that refusal of entry, she then lied to immigration officials making up a story of wanting to apply for asylum,” said the department.
“As a result of our asylum seeker laws, immigration officials’ hands were tied and they were required to let her into the country so that she could apply for asylum within five days.
“She was duly issued with an asylum seeker visa in terms of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002.”
The department said at no stage, during her stay in the country, did Andrejevaite attempt to apply for asylum.
“As such, she became an illegal foreigner, as defined in the Immigration Act, because the five-day period lapsed,” said the department.
“Instead, images of her attending a party in Cape Town hosted by Mr. Rob Hersov surfaced on numerous publications and social media platforms.”
Andrejevaite subsequently launched legal proceedings in the Western Cape High Court, which the department opposed.
On 2 June 2022, the Western Cape High Court ordered Andrejevaite to apologise to South Africans, the Home Affairs Minister and the Department of Home Affairs officials.
The actress compiled and made a formal apology on the same day.
“Ms. Andrejevaite has also formally withdrawn her ill-fated application after accepting that she had lied in it and agreed to pay the costs incurred by the Department which opposed the farcical application,” said the department.
Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi has instructed the department to expeditiously recover costs incurred by the state as a result of Andrejevaite’s bogus application.
“I am extremely happy that our immigration officers implement the laws of the country without fear or favour,” said Minister Motsoaledi.
“As a country, we won’t tolerate the abuse of our immigration laws by anyone nor will we allow the integrity of our borders to be abused.
“This kind of abuse lends more urgency to the work we are doing in revising our immigration laws,”
The department said Andrejevaite was formally processed for deportation on 5 June 2022 and declared an undesirable person by immigration officials.
She is now prohibited from visiting the Republic of South Africa for five years.