Adriaan Vlok, the feared minister of public order under the apartheid regime in South Africa, died on Sunday at the age of 85 in a hospital near the capital Pretoria. He is one of the few senior officials of the racist regime to be prosecuted.
The former Minister of Law and Order (1986-1991), who led the brutal police crackdown on opponents of the white rulers, “died Sunday morning at Unitas Hospital in Centurion after a short illness,” a family spokesman said in a statement. press release
In the late 1980s, Vlok was behind bomb attacks against churches and trade unions. “I thought apartheid was good,” he said. “It was our job to scare people.”
In 2007, Vlok was given a ten-year suspended prison sentence for the attempted assassination of an important opposition leader. Eighteen years earlier he had tried to get rid of Reverend Frank Chikane, then the head of a leading anti-apartheid organization, by putting poison in his underpants.
“I am ashamed of many of the things I have done,” he said at his sentencing, admitting his involvement with the apartheid regime was “a mistake.” The former minister publicly begged his victims for forgiveness and even washed Reverend Chikane’s feet.