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FW de Klerk's death: "Lost opportunity for justice"- slain activist's son says

Lukhanyo Calata, son of Fort Calata   -  
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South Africa

The son of a South African anti-apartheid activist assassinated in 1985 said Friday that former President F.W. de Klerk's posthumous apology for the hurt caused by apartheid was insufficient, and that de Klerk should have been held accountable before his death.

Fort Calata was assassinated by the apartheid regime, along with fellow activists Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkonto, and Sicelo Mhlauli.

The so-called Cradock Four were members of the anti-apartheid United Democratic Front.

They were brutally killed while traveling between Port Elizabeth, on the Indian Ocean, and Cradock, 480 miles (772 kilometres) south of Johannesburg.

Frederik Willem de Klerk died after a battle against cancer at his home in the Fresnaye area of Cape Town, a spokesman for his foundation confirmed Thursday.

In a video message, recorded shortly before his death, he apologised for "the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage" apartheid caused.

He had publicly apologised for apartheid-era abuses but insisted that he personally knew nothing of orders from the top to commit human rights abuses.

But Calata's son, Lukhanyo, claimed the former president was directly involved and should have been held accountable.

Instead, he took "the secrets about the murders of our fathers to the grave", he added.

De Klerk oversaw the end of white minority rule as the country's last apartheid president and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela.

The death of the former president now means the end of the road leading to possible charges.

But Calata expressed hope that other apartheid-era officials will still be held accountable.

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