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Former apartheid cop 'regrets' being part of the system

Jan Malan says he recognises the role his generation needs to play towards reconciliation in the country.

12 year-old Hector Pieterson (seen on the picture at L) was shot on 16 June, 1976 during the Soweto uprising that today is a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former apartheid policeman colonel Jan Malan says he regrets having been a part of and serving a system that brought pain to scores of families in the country.

The retired controversial soldier addressed hundreds at the Orlando Stadium today where the South African Council of Churches organised a 40th anniversary celebration for the generation of June 16.

Survivors of 1976 have also been invited to speak and formed a part of a march from the Madibane Secondary School, symbolising the students who did not reach Orlando Stadium during that peaceful march.

The former apartheid policeman says he recognises the role his generation needs to play towards reconciliation in the country.

"Although military soldiers were not involved in the unfortunate events of 16 June 1976, we recognise and regret that we were at that time part of a system that brought pain to many."

Malan and his former colleague Louis Gerber were invited to today's commemoration, sparking outrage from some 1976 activists.

However, reverend Frank Chikane says the church has an even bigger role to play now post-apartheid because politics often divide society and fail to unite people towards bettering South Africa.