|Minister of Public Enterprises|
|Assumed office |
28 February 2018
|Preceded by||Lynne Brown|
|Minister of Finance|
14 December 2015 – 31 March 2017
|Preceded by||David van Rooyen|
|Succeeded by||Malusi Gigaba|
11 May 2009 – 25 May 2014
|Preceded by||Trevor Manuel|
|Succeeded by||Nhlanhla Nene|
|Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs|
25 May 2014 – 14 December 2015
|Preceded by||Solomon Lechesa Tsenoli|
|Succeeded by||David van Rooyen|
Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan
12 April 1949
Durban, Natal, Union of South Africa
|Political party||South African Communist Party (before 2009)|
African National Congress (2009–present)
|Alma mater||University of Durban-Westville|
|Allegiance||Umkhonto We Sizwe|
|Branch/service||Operation Vula (1986-1990)|
|Years of service||1970-1994|
Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan (born 12 April 1949) is a politician and anti-apartheid activist who has held various ministerial posts in the Cabinet of South Africa. He served as Minister of Finance from 2009 until 2014 and again from 2015 until 2017, as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs from 2014 until 2015, and as Minister of Public Enterprises since February 2018.
Pravin Gordhan was born in Durban, and matriculated from Sastri College in 1967. In 1973 he graduated from the University of Durban-Westville with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. Gordhan became associated with members of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) In 1971 and was elected to its executive council in 1974.
During the 1970s, Gordhan helped establish grassroots organisations that became involved in underground activities and associated with the African National Congress (ANC) and later the South African Communist Party (SACP). He completed his pharmacy internship at King Edward VIII Hospital in 1974 and worked there until 1981 when the Natal Provincial Administration dismissed him for his political activities while he was in detention. He was released from jail in 1982 and received banning orders effective until June 1983. Gordhan attended the launch of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Cape Town 1983 where the also NIC became an affiliated organisation.
Gordhan attended the preparatory meeting for the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in 1991 as a joint NIC/Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) representative, and was appointed NIC/TIC delegate to the steering committee responsible for organising Codesa 1. In 1993 he was appointed to the panel of chairpersons on the planning committee of the multi-party negotiation process.
Gordhan was previously the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service from 1999 to 2009. From 1991 and 1994, he chaired the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, and he was the co-Chairman of the Transitional Executive Council, which prepared South Africa for the country's first non-racial election in April 1994.
As a member of parliament from 1994 to 1998, Gordhan chaired the parliamentary committee that focused on the implementation of the new Constitution and the transformation of local government in the post-apartheid.
Gordhan was chairman of the World Customs Organization in from 2000 to 2006.
On 10 May 2009, President Jacob Zuma appointed Gordhan as Minister of Finance, succeeding Trevor Manuel. On 25 May 2014, he was replaced by Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance.
In 2014, Gordhan was appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, succeeding Lechesa Tsenoli who became Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.
On 14 December 2015, Gordhan was re-appointed as Minister of Finance, replacing David van Rooyen who had been minister for 4 days.
In 2018, Gordhan was re-appointed to the Cabinet of President Cyril Ramaphosa as Minister of Public Enterprises, taking over from former Minister Lynne Brown. He would oversee state-owned enterprises including the likes of Eskom, SAA, Denel, and others.
Gordhan did not receive enough branch nominations to be included on the "Top 200" list of people nominated for election to the ANC National Executive Committee ahead of the party's 55th National Conference in December 2022. At the conference, he was one of a number of high-profile ANC leaders to lose their seats on the NEC.
South African journalist Pieter du Toit has written that Gordhan has become target of a smear campaign by people involved in state capture related corrupt activities due to Gordhan's efforts to fight corruption; du Toit names people associated with the Gupta family, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and factions within the ANC as being amongst Gordhan's harshest critics whilst also being implicated themselves in possible corrupt activities. Other people and organisations, including the Kathrada Foundation, author Pieter-Louis Myburgh, and journalist Ferial Haffajee. have also stated that Gordhan is the target of smear campaigns.
Since becoming Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Gordhan's middle name, Jamnadas, has been used extensively by critics, most notably on Twitter, as a pejorative term and dog whistle to highlight his Indian ethnicity in a racially prejudicial way.
On the eve of the 2016 Budget Speech that was to be tabled on 24 February 2016, a list of questions from the Hawks was sent to Gordhan. In total there were 27 questions around the alleged "rogue unit" at South African Revenue Service (SARS). Gordhan was the SARS commissioner in 2007, when the so-called rogue unit was set up. He has maintained that it was above board and had ministerial approval. Many questioned the timing of the questions sent including Gwede Mantashe, the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC). Gordhan himself was baffled by the questions, having the following to say "Once again, the Hawks and those who instruct them, have no regard for the economic and social welfare of millions". He then sent a letter to the Hawks through his department that he would be unable to meet the deadline imposed. The letter from his office stated that "He will respond in due course, once he has properly examined the questions and ascertained what information, of the information you request, he is able to provide". He also wanted to know from what authority the Hawks asked these questions of him. On 30 March 2016, he replied to the questions put to him by the Hawks. Gordhan was quoted, "I believe this was meant to intimidate and distract us from the work we had to do in preparing the 2016 Budget".
In September 2017, international auditing firm KPMG abruptly withdrew all of its findings‚ recommendations, and conclusions around its report into the SARS "rogue spy unit" which had implicated Gordhan. SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane disputed KPMG's withdrawal of the report withdrawal, calling it "unethical conduct", and claimed that the report is not flawed.
In October 2016, South Africa's state prosecutor levied fraud charges against Gordhan for allowing a former colleague at SARS to take early retirement and then re-hiring them as a consultant. Charges were dropped a few days later. In October 2016, Gordhan lodged an application in the North Gauteng High Court to rule that he may not interfere with the major banks' decision to close the Oakbay Investments accounts. In August 2017, the court ruled against his application deeming it unnecessary.
In May 2019 Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a controversial report recommending that the presidency take disciplinary action against Gordhan for past allegations of fraud at SARS. Gordhan's legal team challenged Mkhwanbane's findings as being "totally wrong both in fact and in law". Mkhwabane publicly denied that it was part of a larger political struggle to target and discredit Gordhan. In July 2019 the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa ruled that Mkhwebane's action as Public Protector against Gordhan be suspended, pending a judicial review of Mkhwabane's report on the SARS "rogue unit". The judge stated that a number of Mkhwebane's assertions were "vague, contradictory and/or nonsensical".
|Year||Country||Award Name||Given by||Field of Merit|
|2019||India||Padma Bhushan||President of India|
|2010||South Africa||Pravasi Bharatiya Samman||President of India||Public service|