Clive Derby-Lewis died 16 months after he was released from prison on medical parole. File picture: Juda Ngwenya/Files

Durban - Religious leaders have responded to Clive Derby-Lewis’ death.

Hindu Maha Sabha president Ashwin Trikamjee said: “I could never find myself having any sympathy for Derby-Lewis.”

He said the murder of Chris Hani robbed South Africa of someone who could have led the country, which is why it was difficult for Derby-Lewis’ death to bring closure.

Trikamjee, a former chairman of the erstwhile National Soccer League, recalled the day Hani died. He was on his way to watch South Africa play Mauritius. “It sent a cold feeling through my body,” he said.

Trikamjee said the Hani family had a difficult time while Derby-Lewis was in prison because their loved one had died, but his killer was still alive. It was not only the family, but South Africans who had looked up to him, who suffered.

Bishop Michael Vorster, of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, said: “He is in the hands of the maker.”

He said he was concerned about the lives of people who were affected by Derby-Lewis.

Vorster said he was not sure if Derby-Lewis’ death would bring any closure to the Hani family. “It is not easy as the teachings of Christianity are that one has to forgive one’s enemies and that even in death God is loving and merciful.”

Chairman of the SA Muslim Network, Faisal Suleman, said they believed that in the spirit of reconciliation, it would have been wise for Derby-Lewis to have come clean. He said this would have gone a long way to ensuring there was closure for Derby-Lewis and Hani’s family.

A disclosure could have helped people to have a different viewpoint of him.