Police minister Adriaan Vlok from South Africa's apartheid era passes away.

Adriaan Vlok (old photograph).

Adriaan Vlok, a infamous police minister under South Africa's white minority government, passed away at the age of 85.

He was crucial in implementing the racist apartheid system, which was carried out by police hit squads that abducted, tortured, and killed activists.

Following the end of apartheid in 1994, Vlok made a number of confessions and was pardoned.

In a show of repentance in 2006, he also washed the feet of well-known anti-apartheid cleric Rev. Frank Chikane.

His detractors viewed it as a ruse to win sympathy and avoid fully disclosing all the crimes the apartheid regime had committed.

Rev. Chikane had survived a police poisoning attempt on him in 1989.

When Nelson Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president in 1994, the more than 45-year rule of the apartheid regime came to an end.

For attempting to kill Rev. Chikane, Vlok received a 10-year prison sentence in 2007 that was suspended.

At the time of his sentencing, he said, "I feel ashamed of many things I have done.

Vlok's family reported that he passed away at a hospital in the nation's capital, Pretoria, after a brief illness.

From 1986 to 1991, he served as the minister of law and order.

South Africa History Online's profile of him states that his ministry was in charge of the detention of about 30,000 people as it attempted to quell the uprising against the rule of the white minority, which was at the time being opposed.

Vlok provided testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established by Mr. Mandela's administration to shed light on the atrocities committed under the apartheid regime.

Vlok acknowledged that his police force was responsible for bombings, including one that targeted the South African Churches' administrative building. In exchange for his confession, he received amnesty.

The mothers and widows of the 10 activists who were killed by the police after being tricked into an ambush had their feet washed by him as well.

Vlok claimed in 2015 that he was not to blame for the "inception of apartheid" on the BBC's Newshour radio program.

He continued, "I think that would have been wrong because I helped to keep it in place and to send me to prison for all the apartheid crimes.".

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