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Dullah Omar

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Dullah Omar

Abdullah Mohamed Omar
Minister of Transport
In office
President Thabo Mbeki
Minister of Justice
Taking office
Monarch Nelson Mandela
Succeeding Penuel Maduna
Personal details
Born (1934-05-26)26 May 1934
Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa
Died 13 March 2004(2004-03-13) (aged 69)
Nationality South African
Alma mater University of Cape Town
Occupation Lawyer

Abdullah Mohamed Omar (26 May 1934 – 13 March 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 1
  • Anti-apartheid activities 2
  • Government minister 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and education

Born in Observatory, Cape Town,[1] to immigrant parents from Gujarat in western India. Omar attended Trafalgar High School in Cape Town.[2] He was a respected member of the Muslim community.[3] He attended the University of Cape Town and graduated with a law degree in 1957.[4]

Anti-apartheid activities

He defended members of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and African National Congress (ANC), was a member of the Unity Movement throughout the Early 70's and 80's before he joined and became a leading member of the United Democratic Front and was a human rights activist throughout his life.

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.

In 1999, following the election of Thabo Mbeki as President, Omar became the Minister of Transport, a post that he held until his death from cancer.

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.


  1. ^
  2. ^ City School turns 100,, January 2012, retrieved 11 August 2014
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • A biography of Dullah Omar
  • An ANC profile of Omar
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