In an increasingly bitter exchange, the African National Congress on Saturday accused President F.W. de Klerk of having no regard for black lives after he rejected an ultimatum for ending township violence.

De Klerk said the ultimatum showed the ANC was more interested in personal gains than political reform."To make so petty a response underscores precisely why we say that the government has no regard for black life," the ANC said in response.

On Friday, the black opposition group warned that if de Klerk did not curb township unrest by May 9, it would end talks with the government. This would hamper efforts to arrange formal negotiations between black and white leaders on ending white-minority rule.

De Klerk late Friday accused the ANC of coming up with new demands "now that we are entering the strait of removing obstacles" to formal negotiations.