Clients will miss a mentor, adviser and friend

2014-09-15 00:00

RESPECTED Pietermaritzburg businessman and community leader Devaraj (Devan) Naidoo died 10 days after his 60th birthday.

His birthday was on August 30, and his family organised a surprise party for him at the Victoria Country Club the next day. Friends who had been at the party were shocked to learn that he had to be rushed to hospital a week later. He died of cardiac failure on Wednesday, September 10.

Naidoo recently retired after working for accounting firm Deloitte for 30 years. Office managing partner for Deloitte, KZN, Guy Brazier said Naidoo joined the company in October 1984 and experienced three mergers during his time with the company. Brazier said Naidoo retired as one of the most respected managers in the accounting and financial advisory business.

“Devan was always held in high regard with whomever he interacted — always noble in his approach, gentle in nature, real in wisdom, consistently respectful, unwavering in his values and with integrity above reproach. His quiet unassuming approach gave little away of his potential and experience,” Brazier said.

Tributes poured in from small entities, owner-managed businesses and trusts that Naidoo assisted with their tax matters.

Delian Marian of Alex Electrical was one of Naidoo’s clients. Marian said he was a father, mentor, business adviser and confidante. “Your advice was always well thought out and wisely given in that calm manner that you always had.”

Suresh Naidoo in his tribute said he would remember his friend as the man who knew everybody in Pietermaritzburg, from the premier to the security guard at the Treasury Building.

However Suresh thanked Naidoo for helping fellow cancer sufferers like himself. Naidoo had walked the same path more than five years ago when he had been diagnosed with a form of lung cancer. Suresh wrote, “Mostly Devan I remember the light you shone on my life when the darkness of cancer enveloped me.

“You being the only person I knew with the same affliction. You provided me with inspiration to stay focused and stay alive.”

Naidoo’s funeral took place on Saturday at the TPA Hall in Northdale. Tributes were also paid by the many organisations that he served as an office bearer and those that he helped financially. They included the Divine Life Society of South Africa where he was a member for the past 40 years. He was treasurer of the Andhra Sabha and was a board member of Sunlit Gardens and Aryan Benevolent Homes.

He also served on the School Governing Body of Pelham Senior Primary and was chairman of the Tamil Businessmen’s Association.

Naidoo, whose father worked on the historic Baynesfield Estate, leaves his wife Vani, daughter Yivaniya, a brother and three sisters.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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