Pravin Gordhan took over as Finance Minister of South Africa in May 2009 having previously served as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) for a total of 11 years. From 2001 to 2006, Gordhan served as Chairperson of the World Customs Organisation, the only inter-governmental organisation with worldwide membership focused on customs matters including the development of global standards and the facilitation of international trade.
Between 1991 and 1994 he served as co-chairperson of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC), which was made up of representatives of those parties involved in the multi-party negotiations leading up to the first democratic elections in 1994. Nineteen of the original 26 negotiating parties were represented at the TEC, which had the task of preparing the country for the first free elections.
More recently, from 2008 to 2009 Gordhan served as Chairperson of the Forum on Tax Administration for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is a respected international organisation with 34 member countries worldwide that regularly work together to identify problems, and discuss solutions that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
As Finance Minister for South Africa, Gordhan has the immense task of co-ordinating the macro-economic policy of the country and setting the national fiscal policy framework. Presiding over a budget of R979 billion his role is to set policy spending that will enable the South African government’s New Growth Path, initiatives aimed at progressing job creation, healthcare, education, crime prevention and rural development. In 2011 South Africa was invited to join the BRIC group of emerging market countries, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India and China. Its objective is to foster economic ties in an effort to strengthen, and capitalise upon, the opportunities offered by uniting the leading emerging markets.
Having displayed exceptional leadership qualities in the areas of business and commerce, Gordhan was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Cape Town in June 2007 and an honorary Doctorate in Commerce from the University of South Africa in May 2007. In May 2009 he completed his DTech in Business Administration from the Free State Central University of Technology, which is the highest attainable qualification from a South African Technikon.