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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Omar, Abdullah Mohamed

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Born Abdullah Omar on 26 May 1934, Dullah Omar spent his entire life in Cape Town. He studied law at the University of Cape Town and graduated with an LLB degree in 1957. He was admitted as an attorney in 1960, and in 1982 as an advocate of the Supreme Court. Omar worked serving deprived communities, was involved in civil and criminal defence work, handling housing, pass laws, labour and work related cases.

Omar served as legal representative to a number of trade unions, and civic and religious organisations. He was a defence lawyer in many political trials involving members of banned organisations such as the ANC, PAC and BCM charged with resistance activities against the apartheid regime.

Omar was Chairperson of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Western Cape Region in 1987 and 1988, and Vice-president from 1988 until the UDF's dissolution in 1991. He was a national Vice-President and Western Cape regional President of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), a trustee of the South African Legal Defence Fund, and a Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of South Africa.

He served as Director of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape until he was appointed South Africa's first Minister of Justice in 1994.

He was elected to the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) in 1991, and as Chairperson of the ANC in the Western Cape in 1996. Omar was also a member of the constitutional committee of the Legal Department of the ANC from 1990 to 1994, and a member of the ANC negotiating team leading to the constitutional and political settlement in South Africa.

Omar served as Minister of Justice from 1994 to 1999, and was also the minister responsible for intelligence. He was the first member of cabinet to be appointed Acting President in the absence of both the President and the Deputy President.

He was appointed Minister of Transport in June 1999, after the country's second democratic elections.

Omar died in March 2004.

Sources: http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/people/omar.html

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.