Media release

Government on passing away of Minister Dullah Omar

13 March 2004

13 March 2004

It is with a deep sense of sadness that the government has learnt of the passing away of Minister Abdullah (Dullah) Mohamed Omar.

Having struggled with Hodgkins-Classic, a form of cancer of the lymph nodes over the past 13 months, his body finally succumbed in the early hours of Saturday morning. A patriot has gone to rest, forever. A stalwart has breathed his last breath at his post.

Dullah Omar has served South Africa's people and the cause of human solidarity with distinction. Since his youth, Dullah dedicated his life to the struggle to free South Africa from the scourge of apartheid. As an Attorney and Advocate of the Supreme Court, he dedicated his energy and his skills to the service of deprived communities as well as in political trials and assistance to prisoners on Robben Island and other prisons.

Having contributed in various capacities in the mass and underground struggles, and in the negotiations that brought about the democratic transition in 1994, Dullah Omar served as Minister of Justice between 1994 and 1999. In this period he also served as Minister for Intelligence Services. He became Minister of Transport in June 1999, a responsibility he continued to carry out to his last day. He was also appointed Acting President on a number of occasions in the absence of both the President and Deputy President.

The government wishes to extend its profound condolences, and the condolences of all South Africans, to Dullah's wife, Fareda, his children - Kemal, Rustum and Fazlin - and his next-of-kin. Our thoughts are with them in this hour of grief.

In line with convention, Minister Dullah Omar will be accorded an official funeral, with all the honours due to a serving member of Cabinet. Flags will be flown at half-mast from this morning for a period still to be determined by the President. The funeral, which will be attended by the President and other dignitaries, will be held in Cape Town this afternoon. Consultations are being held with the family around funeral and other arrangements.

Joel Netshitenzhe
Cell: 082 900 0083

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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