Pretoria — US musician Dante Smith Bey, popularly known as Mos Def, is set to leave South Africa today after being charged earlier this year for trying to leave the country without proper travel documentation.

Home Affairs Director General, Mkhuseli Apleni, on Tuesday said the department will withdraw charges against Smith Bey on Friday. Smith Bey had written to the department to apologise for using a document called a world passport, which South Africa does not recognize as a valid passport.

Making the announcement in Pretoria earlier today, Apleni said the department is satisfied with the apology, and has agreed in principle for Smith Bey to depart from South Africa today.

“Based on his apology and the confirmation that he will depart on 22 November 2016, using a valid passport, the department will withdraw the charges against him, on Friday, 25 November 2016, in his absence,” Apleni said.

Smith Bey was arrested in January in Cape Town after his attempt to leave South Africa on a world passport. At the time, it was also established that his family’s visas had expired in 2014 and he was accused of illegally helping them to stay in the country.

Prior to his arrest, Smith Bey had been a frequent traveler to South Africa, using a valid US passport.

Following the incident, the department leveled criminal charges against him.

In his apology, Smith Bey acknowledges and accepts that the Immigration Act (No. 13 2002) sets in place a system of immigration control, which regulates and administers foreigners entry into, residence in and departure from the Republic of South Africa, and that, in so doing, “the Immigration Act prescribes that a foreigner may only depart from the Republic of South Africa (RSA) if he/she is in possession of a valid passport”.

Smith Bey also stated that he acknowledges and accepts that a foreigner may only depart from the Republic upon presentation of a valid passport, and that a world passport is not a valid passport in terms of the Immigration Act.

Apleni said Smith Bey has unreservedly apologized to the government of South Africa, particularly to the Department of Home Affairs, for his actions and for any inconvenience this may have caused.

According to Apleni, Smith Bey may apply for a waiver, for good cause, in terms of Section 2 of the Immigration Act of 2002.

“There are laws in place to be respected by all persons to protect all citizens and visitors. This way, we promote the rule of law and ensure all people in the country are and feel safe,” Apleni said.

Smith has since applied for and will be travelling out of the Republic on a US passport.

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