"I was very impressed with John and have enormous respect for what he has achieved with the Springboks in the last four years," said De Villiers.
"He is the World Cup-winning captain. He has global respect and he has the desire to add to what was achieved in France last year.
"This is a new chapter for Springbok rugby, but I believe we must build on the success of the World Cup and it made sense to me to further invest in John's excellent leadership and his ability as a player."
Smit, who remains contracted to club rugby in France, was thrilled to be a part of the De Villiers era.
"When we met in Cape Town I was encouraged by the coach's desire for success and his passion for South African rugby," said Smit.
"To be offered the chance to continue with the Springboks is a challenge I would never refuse. I feel honoured to be given further opportunities to lead the Springboks."
De Villiers ideally wants Smit to continue his domestic rugby in South Africa and the hooker has agreed to do so provided SA Rugby and his French club can agree on terms and conditions.
"The Springboks will always be my priority but it is important that any move back to South Africa to play domestic rugbyÂ is done in a professional and mature way," he said.
"The French have been fantastic to me and they understandÂ my desire to play for the Springboks. It is a situation that now will be dealt with on an administrative level between South African rugby and Clermont.
"For now my focus is on getting back to match fitness and making a contribution to Clermont's season."
De Villiers acknowledges the complications of having his captain based in France and for this reason wants him back in South Africa.
"We will find the best possible solution in the coming weeks," said De Villiers.
"It was important for me to officially confirm the situation, so as to ensure there is no misinformation based on speculation."
De Villiers, who described his European trip as "encouraging", added: "We must do what is best for Springbok rugby and my intention is to ensure the best available squad is selected. I will explore all avenues for this to happen."