Pravin Gordhan is an activist at heart. His involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle goes back to the 1970s and 1980s when he was an organiser in the student movement and a prominent leader in civic structures. After qualifying as a pharmacist in 1974, he worked at Durbans King Edward VIII hospital until 1981 when he was expelled by the hospital administration for his involvement in resistance politics. He spent four years underground in the 1980s and became intricately involved in the South African Communist Party and African National Congress.
He played a pivotal role in South Africas transition as an ANC participant in the multi-party talks at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), and as co-chair of the Transitional Executive Council. He chaired the Constitutional Committee, which had oversight over the implementation of the new Constitution that was adopted by Parliament in May 1996. He continued to serve actively as an ANC MP until March 1998 when he joined SARS as Deputy Commissioner.
He was appointed as Commissioner in November 1999. It is during the next decade that SARS was built into a formidable tax and customs administration that was recognised world-wide, for its efforts in enabling the South African government to collect the fiscal resources it needed for its development programmes.
In May 2009 in the midst of the global financial crisis and a world-wide recession, he was appointed as Minister of Finance and had the difficult task to navigate the domestic economy out of turbulence towards fiscal stability and a new growth path.
In May 2014, he was appointed as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs only to be re-appointed to the Finance portfolio in December 2015. He remained the Minister of Finance until he was inexplicably recalled at around midnight on 30th March 2017.
He returned to the Legislature as a Member of Parliament and became part of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. He continues to serve as member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress, having been elected as a NEC member in December 2012.
In February 2018, he was appointed as Minister of Public Enterprises by President Cyril Ramaphosa.