Omar Latiff 'was most credible'

2015-09-14 10:15
Omar Latiff

Omar Latiff (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - The city's first black mayor Omar Latiff, who died on Friday night, will forever be remembered as “the most credible human being a person could ever meet”.

Latiff was hospitalised last Wednesday due to a heart attack and died on Friday night at the age of 61.

Msunduzi municipal speaker Babu Baijoo said Latiff was very active in the 1980s and played an instrumental role in the change of rates in the Northern area of Pietermaritzburg.

“He was a lecturer in accounting at the university (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and was an expert in tax,” said Baijoo.

“He was behind the rates boycott in 1989 against the old municipality that saw 15 000 march in solidarity against the rates.”

Baijoo said in 1994 Latiff became the chairperson of the executive committee council and in 1996 was elected Pietermaritzburg’s first black mayor.

After the stint as mayor, Latiff continued his work as a chartered accountant and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers until retirement a year ago.

“He always saw the good in people and if he saw potential in someone he would work with that person until they had achieved their goal.

“He had no prejudices whatsoever and lived by what he preached. He was one of the most credible human beings a person could find,” said Baijoo.

Omar’s son, Ozayr Latiff, said his father was “a caring person”, was open minded and wanted the best for his family. “He was the decision maker and provided guidance to all his children in both academics and leisure,” said Ozayr.

“He had many hobbies. He spent a lot of his free time reading. He had an incredible zest for life and approached any activity with enthusiasm. He also loved travelling. He loved globetrotting with his family and close friend Dr Akoo.

“He wasn’t part of the ANC in an executive capacity after his time as the mayor. But he always assisted them in planning and strategy. He always had time for assisting in politics. He wanted the best for the country,” said Ozayr.

Latiff was buried on Saturday at the Raisethorpe cemetery in Pietermaritzburg.

He is survived by his wife Roshen and four children, Ozayr, Adil, Radiyya and Asma.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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