Mr Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan
South Africa

Mr Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan

Finance Minister

Date of Birth: 12/04/1949
Place of Birth: Durban

Married to Vanitha Raju with 2 children.

Education: Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Durban.

Career: Pharmacist, King Edward VII Hospital, Durban, 1974-81; Co-chairman of the Transitional Executive Council, 1991-94; Member of Parliament, African National Congress (ANC), 1994-98; Deputy Commissioner, South Africa Revenue Service, 1998-99; Commissioner, South Africa Revenue Service, 1999-2009; Minister of Finance, 2009 to date. 

Commentary: Making Pravin Gordhan Finance Minister was one of President Jacob Zuma’s shrewder moves. Gordhan is a close and trusted ally and one ANC leader who does not frighten the markets. His reforms at the Revenue Service brought praise from big business and politicians. A former communist, he now shares the views of Trevor Manuel, his internationally admired predecessor, who is Zuma’s economic supremo as Planning Minister. Gordhan favours sound money, inflation-targeting and strict fiscal discipline, all detested by Zuma’s wavering left-wing supporters.

From a family of Indian origin, Gordhan was brought up in Durban, capital of Zuma’s own KwaZulu-Natal province, and became a student activist in the 1970s and early 1980s, in Zuma’s ANC faction. For four years he worked in the ANC underground, helping to plan some of its most audacious operations. In the mid-1970s, he was expelled from his job as a pharmacist at King Edward VII Hospital after being detained by the police, and was detained twice more.

In 1991, he was appointed Co-Chairman of the Transitional Executive Council that oversaw the change to a democratically elected government. He became a member of parliament, moving to the South Africa Revenue Service in 1998. Until then, the country had enjoyed a ‘culture of non-payment’ in middle-class and corporate life as in the townships. Gordhan and his team controversially offered repeated tax amnesties to defaulters, bringing tens of thousands of new entrants, rich and poor, into the system and ensuring that they kept on paying. The tax take increased with no increase in tax rates. This seemed to surprise Manuel, Finance Minister at the time, whose team had under-forecast revenue every year.


Displaying 1-10 out of 52 results.

Vol 55 N0 6


The ANC’s top hundred

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is number 13, which suggests Zuma wants to keep him in place...

Vol 55 N0 5


How to spend it

In stark contrast to the budgetary caution shown by South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, his Namibian counterpart, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, has raised state spending by 27% to a record 60...

Vol 55 N0 5


Restrained budget could be Gordhan’s last

Pravin Gordhan confounded widespread predictions that this would be a feel-good budget aimed at assuring African National Congress victory in the May election...

Vol 54 N0 21


Physician heal thyself

‘An increase in GDP does necessarily mean an increase in well-being,’ says South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan...

Vol 54 N0 20


Political mould starts to break

Labour market reforms are critical to higher economic growth, say the International Monetary Fund and the ANC’s own technocrats, including National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan...

Vol 54 N0 12


The new battle for the Bank

His panelists – AfDB President Donald Kaberuka, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Sudanese telecommunications mogul and philanthropist Mohamed Ibrahim – all shot back in the affirmative...

Vol 54 N0 8


Blade's think-tank regiment

As for BRICS strategy, this is largely run by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and, to a lesser extent, by the Department of Trade and Industry and by state-owned finance institutions, such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa...

Vol 54 N0 5


Guns, jobs and strikes

Higher tax hints Zuma hinted at higher corporate taxes, saying that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would commission a study of tax policies to ensure ‘we have an appropriate revenue base to support public spending’...

Vol 54 N0 5


The left-right clash on economics

The background to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech on 27 February was grim (see Box, Gordhan's budget balm)...

Vol 54 N0 5


Gordhan's budget balm

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan managed to calm business and assuage the public with an assured budget speech...

Displaying 1-10 out of 52 results.