Pravin Gordhan

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Pravin Gordhan
Minister of Public Enterprises
Assumed office
28 February 2018
PresidentCyril Ramaphosa
Preceded byLynne Brown
Minister of Finance
In office
14 December 2015 – 31 March 2017
PresidentJacob Zuma
DeputyMcebisi Jonas
Preceded byDavid van Rooyen
Succeeded byMalusi Gigaba
In office
11 May 2009 – 25 May 2014
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byTrevor Manuel
Succeeded byNhlanhla Nene
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
In office
25 May 2014 – 14 December 2015
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded bySolomon Lechesa Tsenoli
Succeeded byDavid van Rooyen
Additional offices
Member of the National Assembly of South Africa
Assumed office
May 2009
In office
April 1994 – November 1999
Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service
In office
November 1999 – May 2009
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byTrevor van Heerden
Succeeded byOupa Magashule
Personal details
Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan

(1949-04-12) 12 April 1949 (age 74)
Durban, Natal, Union of South Africa
Political partySouth African Communist Party (before 2009)
African National Congress (2009–present)[1]
SpouseVanitha Raju
ChildrenAnisha Gordhan
Alma materUniversity of Durban-Westville
Military service
AllegianceUmkhonto We Sizwe
Branch/serviceOperation Vula (1986-1990)
Years of service1970-1994
RankMilitary operative

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,[2] and as Minister of Public Enterprises since February 2018.

Early years[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4]


Gordhan was previously the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service from 1999 to 2009.[5] From 1991 and 1994, he chaired the Convention for a Democratic South Africa,[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

Gordhan was chairman of the World Customs Organization from 2000 to 2006.[5]

On 10 May 2009, President Jacob Zuma appointed Gordhan as Minister of Finance, succeeding Trevor Manuel.[8] On 25 May 2014, he was replaced by Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance.[9]

In 2014, Gordhan was appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs,[10] succeeding Lechesa Tsenoli who became Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.[11]

On 14 December 2015, Gordhan was re-appointed as Minister of Finance, replacing David van Rooyen who had been minister for 4 days.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14] At the conference, he was one of a number of high-profile ANC leaders to lose their seats on the NEC.[15]

Controversies and court cases[edit]

Gordhan during the WEF 2012

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.[16] Other people and organisations, including the Kathrada Foundation,[17] author Pieter-Louis Myburgh,[18] and journalist Ferial Haffajee.[19] 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.[20]

Rogue unit[edit]

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).[21] 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.[22] Many questioned the timing of the questions sent including Gwede Mantashe, the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC).[23] 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".[22] 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.[24] On 30 March 2016, he replied to the questions put to him by the Hawks.[25] 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".[26]

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.[27][28]

Hiring practices[edit]

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.[29] 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.[30]

Public Protector[edit]

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.[31] Gordhan's legal team challenged Mkhwebane's findings as being "totally wrong both in fact and in law".[31] Mkhwebane publicly denied that it was part of a larger political struggle to target and discredit Gordhan.[32][33] 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".[34][35]


Year Country Award Name Given by Field of Merit
2019 India Padma Bhushan President of India
2010 India Pravasi Bharatiya Samman President of India Public service

Honorary degrees[edit]


  1. ^ "Gordhan no longer SACP member". Fin24. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Pravin Gordhan | Who's Who SA". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  3. ^ Motha, Sibahle (8 July 2019). "UKZN confirms Gordhan qualification".
  4. ^ "Gordhan, Pravin Jamnadas - The O'Malley Archives". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Bakker & Kloosterhof. Tax Risk Management. From risk to opportunity. IBFD. Amsterdam: 2010. 383f.
  6. ^ "Pravin Gordhan named SA's new Finance Minister". South African Government News Agency. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  7. ^ Leander (26 September 2013). "Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan". South African History Online. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  8. ^ "S.Africa's Zuma makes sweeping changes to cabinet", AFP, 10 May 2009.
  9. ^ "Zuma's chosen ministers and deputy ministers". News 24. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  10. ^ South Africa's Zuma replaces finance minister, again. Archived 20 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine 2015-12-14.
  11. ^ Tsenoli, Lechesa Solomon. Archived 26 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine ANC Parliamentary Caucus. Accessed 2015-12-18
  12. ^ Motsoeneng, Tiisetso (14 December 2015). "South Africa says no swearing in of new finance minister Gordhan". Reuters. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Pravin Gordhan back, this time as Minister of Public Enterprises". Media24. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  14. ^ "ANC 55TH NATIONAL ELECTIVE CONFERENCE - TOP 200 NEC ADDITIONAL MEMBERS LIST". ANC 1912. 1 December 2022. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  15. ^ "Mkhize returns to NEC, Gordhan out in the cold". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Pieter du Toit: How Pravin Gordhan became the principal enemy of the state capture project". News24. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Kathrada Foundation slams Malema's anti-Gordhan 'smear campaign'". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  18. ^ Myburgh, Pieter-Louis (2017). The Republic of Gupta: A Story of State Capture. Penguin Books. p. 259. ISBN 9781776090891.
  19. ^ "Ferial Haffajee: Campaign against Gordhan works as Eskom reform stalls". Fin24. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  20. ^ Snijman, Lia. "POPULIST DOG WHISTLES: Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, a case study: When your name is weaponised on Twitter". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  21. ^ "The 27 questions the Hawks sent to Gordhan". Fin24. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Gordhan 'baffled' by timing and deadline of latest Hawks' letter". Business Day Live. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  23. ^ SABC. "SABC News - ANC questions timing of Hawks investigation into Gordhan:Friday 26 February 2016". Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Gordhan hits back, asks Hawks to clarify Sars 'rogue unit' probe". Fin24. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Gordhan answers Hawks' questions about SARS 'rogue unit'". Business Day Live. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  26. ^ Dodds, Craig (26 February 2016). "Gordhan slams 'distracting' Hawks letter". IOL. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  27. ^ "KPMG cans SARS 'rogue unit' report' apologises to Gordhan". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Moyane reiterates he's not happy with KPMG 'rogue unit' probe". Fin24. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  29. ^ Parkinson, Joe (31 October 2016). "South African Rand Jumps After Fraud Charges Against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan Are Dropped". Retrieved 14 October 2017.(subscription required)
  30. ^ "Court rules against Gordhan's request for relief in Gupta bank matter". Fin24. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  31. ^ a b Nkanjeni, Unathi (27 May 2019). "Pravin Gordhan vs Busisiwe Mkhwebane: what you need to know". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  32. ^ Manyathela, Clement. "Mkhwebane pre-empts 'backlash' as she issues Gordhan with notice". Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Busisiwe Mkhwebane takes aim at Pravin Gordhan in four telling quotes". SowetanLIVE & Sunday World. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Full judgment: Why the court ruled in Gordhan's favour". Fin24. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Court rules in Pravin Gordhan's favour against Busisiwe Mkhwebane". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lechesa Tsenoli
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by