The National Press Club welcomes the statement by President Jacob Zuma that he will assist while in Tripoli to get photographer Anton Hammerl’s body returned to his family.
Club Chairperson Yusuf Abramjee, said: “The President’s swift response to a letter from the Hammerl family is welcomed. He has shown leadership. Thank you.
“It was an emotional plea from Anton’s wife and children and I’m pleased to see President Zuma’s response.
“We hope the President will succeed and get Anton’s body back for a proper burial as soon as possible,” said Abramjee.
He added that it was “also important for the SA government to officially raise its concern and disappointment with Libya for lying about Anton. They said he was alive and well. SA must demand an apology.”
He said he hoped this was raised “face to face between President Zuma and Gadaffi”.
Abramjee addressed the Council of Arab Ambassadors in SA on Thursday evening.
He appealed to them to also assist in getting Anton’s body back to SA.
“The ambassadors agreed to use diplomatic channels to try and assist.
“There was no representative from Libya at the meeting. The ambassador, Dr Abdulla Al-Zubedi, I was told no longer represents his country.
“I was further informed that he is also no longer dean of the diplomatic corps,” said Abramjee.
The Arab ambassadors, he added, passed on their condolences to Hammerl’s family, friends and colleaques.