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 60 results.

Vol 55 N0 23


Hard times for the revenue service

Often held up as a model tax organisation for developing countries under the leadership of Pravin Gordhan in 1999-2009, it is now the latest body to be caught in the multiple controversies swirling around President Jacob Zuma and the governing African National Congress (ANC)...

Vol 55 N0 19


Nuclear secrets

It is believed that a key reason Zuma reshuffled respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was his opposition to the nuclear project on financial grounds...

Vol 55 N0 18


Dividing the spoils

A tax commission established by former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and chaired by High Court Judge Dennis Davis is currently looking into the issue and considering whether changes are needed in tax legislation...

Vol 55 N0 13


Unsteady state of the nation

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan now holds this key portfolio and he is now being seen as 'Minister of Delivery'...

Vol 55 N0 11


A loyalist cabinet

The biggest surprise was the removal of the highly respected Pravin Gordhan from Finance and his replacement with Nhlanhla Nene, a deputy minister under Trevor Manuel in 2008 and under Gordhan since 2009...

Vol 55 N0 11


The President looks to his legacy

Pravin Gordhan, the incumbent Finance Minister, stayed in South Africa for the National Executive Committee's discussions on the new government instead of attending the African Development Bank meeting in Rwanda from 19-23 May...

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Vol 55 N0 10


The last liberation election

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is reluctant to serve another term, but his work on the NDP alongside Ramaphosa and Manuel will be of critical importance in the coming months...

Vol 55 N0 9


Politics and Pistorius in the dock

7% this year by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, is undermined by a large current account deficit (5% of gross domestic product in the final quarter of last year)...

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...

Displaying 1-10 out of 60 results.