Covid-19 has claimed the life of community activist and politician Jayraj Bachu, 75, who succumbed to the virus in hospital on Friday night.
Bachu of Bakerville Gardens displayed flu-like symptoms on Father’s Day, two weeks ago. His son, Umesh, said his father had been to the doctor and was on an antibiotics course which did not help.
“Last Saturday we admitted him to hospital. That was the last time we got to see him. We had been in contact with the hospital and his doctor who assured us he was doing well. Unfortunately, on Friday evening I received a call from the hospital to say he had taken a turn for the worse. They said two family members could go to the hospital, but by the time I got to the hospital my dad had passed on,” said Umesh.
He said his death came as a shock to the family. He was not at the stage where he was on a ventilator. Reality of the virus hits you when it happens close to home. It was devastating for my mum, myself and my siblings that we could not see him one last time at the funeral,” he said.
Bachu was the national leader of the Hindu Unity Movement, which was formed last year. During its formation, Bachu said the party strived to uplift the Hindu community and provide it a voice, something he believed was lacking. Since his twenties he had been passionate about politics.
He had previously served as a ward councillor for the Clare Estate and Reservoir Hills areas. He served as an ANC and DA councillor, was a member of the National People’s Party and served on Codesa.
Ram Maharaj, his long-time friend and the president of the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha, described Bachu as an iconic community leader and great family man.
“He was one of the founding members of the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha. He was the epitome of selfless service. He was a go-to man to people of the community. He had a legacy of helping people in need. He was always very positive, sensitive and diplomatic.
“He helped in shaping and creating our new democracy. Since the 1980s he led the battle for fireworks during Diwali,” said Maharaj.
Satish Maharaj, the family’s priest, said Bachu was very active in community work till the end, adding that his passing was a terrible loss.
Bachu was laid to rest at Clare Estate Crematorium yesterday evening. He is survived by his wife, Renuka, children Vinod, Umesh, Reshma Harinarain, Rinku Singh and grandchildren.
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