Dullah Omar. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Dullah Omar. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The family of the late Dullah Omar, South Africa's first minister of justice, has asked the ANC to remove his name from the ANC's 'Dullah Omar Region' in the Western Cape.

"We acknowledge and appreciate the intentions of those who named the region after Dullah Omar as a way of honouring his memory and legacy. Notwithstanding these intentions, we have decided that the time to make this statement has arrived," the family said in a statement.

The family said the decision by the region to march in support of President Jacob Zuma was the the straw that broke the camel's back.

Here is their statement in full:

STATEMENT FROM THE WIDOW, CHILDREN AND FAMILY OF THE LATE DULLAH OMAR, FORMER AND FIRST MINISTER OF JUSTICE IN DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA.

4 August 2017

The statement follows in the wake of the recent announcement by the Dullah Omar Region of the ANC Western Cape of a march in support of President Jacob Zuma, scheduled to coincide with the "motion of no confidence" debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday 8th August 2017.

We firstly wish to place on record that no consultation with the family took place regarding the naming of the region after Dullah Omar. We considered it churlish at the time to take up the matter with the Region.

With hindsight, it is clear that we should have done so at that time. We acknowledge and appreciate the intentions of those who named the region after Dullah Omar as a way of honouring his memory and legacy. Notwithstanding these intentions, we have decided that the time to make this statement has arrived, in view of what has happened since then and which has drastically undermined and weakened the African National Congress and the struggle for a just, non-racial, non-sexist and egalitarian society.

Sadly, many ANC leaders - from ANC branches to the highest level - have dropped the ball: they are more interested in themselves and their positions than serving the interests of the people; factionalism, greed, anti-democratic practices have taken root; corruption and poor governance are rife; they act with arrogance and impunity. Their behaviour has let many down and is destroying the ANC and the country.

Dullah (Abdullah Mohamed) Omar was a man of integrity, honesty and humility. His words and deeds were based on similar principles, morality and values of many of the heroes of the liberation struggle, leaders and foot-soldiers.

He was unwavering and committed and could not be and was not diverted from doing what he felt was necessary to make South Africa a more just, equal and democratic country. No inducement of position, power or personal enrichment was powerful enough to change him.

This contrasts sharply with the behaviour and actions in recent years of many ANC leaders and members up to and including President Jacob Zuma.

There is no need to mention the litany of transgressions by ANC leaders and members –social activists, progressive structures and the media have done this sufficiently.

Suffice it for us to state with firm conviction that Dullah Omar, like many ANC leaders, members and many people from all walks of life who have expressed their opposition and dismay at the misdeeds of some current leaders, would never have behaved in the same manner nor would he have condoned it.

Neither he, nor his name, should ever be associated with justifying the reprehensible or defending the indefensible. As a family, we cannot allow him to be undermined simply because of his absence.

In his name, and in the memory of our great stalwarts, and the millions of people who have fought for our organisation, died for our organisation, voted for our organisation, let us take back our ANC.

Let us build an ANC that is again rooted in our communities, that puts people first:
· an ANC that has strong branches in every community, that builds and practices democracy from the ground up;
· an ANC in which the people truly govern and leaders are held to account;
· an ANC that fearlessly roots out corruption at every level; and
· an ANC that is true to the values great leaders and stalwarts have lived and died for.

Let us rally to rebuild the ANC on the values they stood for!
Let us take back our ANC to move South Africa forward!

We, the Omar family:
1. Have formally written to the National Executive of the ANC to request the removal of the name of Dullah Omar from the name of the ANC Cape Town Metro Region in the Western Cape, with immediate effect.

2. Dissociate Dullah Omar's and our family’s name from the planned march for the 8th August 2017 in support of President Jacob Zuma.

3. Urge all to rebuild and reclaim the ANC based on the principles, values and practices by which Dullah Omar and countless others lived their lives.

4. Support the revival of progressive and vibrant community- based organisations to actively work with the ANC and Government at all levels to uplift our people and ensure that our leaders work in the interest of our people – particular the poor, marginalised and vulnerable - and not themselves; to defeat racism and foster inclusivity and non-racialism, and to strengthen good governance, including fighting corruption.

Just as it does his family, it would have troubled and hurt him deeply that his name be associated with anything but the defence and advancement of the founding values of the ANC and the principles of our Constitutional democracy. Both of which he cherished, lived and worked for so hard.

We hope that out of respect for his memory, our decision and wishes in this regard will be respected, understood and carried out.

- Ms Latifa Omar
Sister of Dullah Omar and on behalf the Omar family

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