Dullah Omar

Dullah Omar

Abdullah Mohamed Omar (May 26, 1934 - March 13, 2004), better known as Dullah Omar, was a South African anti-Apartheid activist, lawyer, and a minister in the South African cabinet from 1994 till his death.


Early life and education

Born in Cape Town, Omar was a respected member of the Muslim community. He attended the University of Cape Town and graduated with a law degree in 1957.[citation needed]

Anti-apartheid activities

He defended members of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and African National Congress (ANC), and became a leading member of the United Democratic Front and human rights activist.

His movement restricted by "banning orders" and detained without trial repeatedly, he also survived plots by the apartheid government to assassinate him. In 1989, he became a spokesman of Nelson Mandela, during the last months of the latter's imprisonment.

Government minister

In 1994, Omar became Minister of Justice in South Africa in Nelson Mandela's ANC government, and was the first cabinet minister appointed Acting President in the absence of both the President and Deputy President from South Africa. He played a major role in transforming the South African justice system[citation needed].

In 1999, following the election of Thabo Mbeki as President, Omar became the Minister of Transport, a post that he held until his death of cancer. His performance as transport minister was exceptional.[citation needed].

Of Indian descent and a lifelong resident of the Western Cape, he was married with three children, and was buried with official honours, and in accordance with Muslim tradition on the day of his death.

External links

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