Pravin Gordhan called halt


Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced that he is retiring from politics within the next few weeks.

The expectation is that the 74-year-old Gordhan, a veteran politician and campaigner against apartheid, will retire from active politics after the general election on 29 May. During his career, Gordhan held several key positions in the cabinet and elsewhere in the state. Among other things, he is a former minister of finance, a former minister of cooperative government and traditional affairs, a former head of the South African Revenue Service (between 1999 and 2009) and currently serves as minister of public enterprises.

He played a leading role in the struggle to end apartheid and was an active member of the ANC underground.

Gordhan in an interview with Business Day said he now wants to prioritize his family and health and has indicated that he will not stand for re-election on the ANC’s list of candidates.

“I feel it is time to concentrate on my family and my health. This is the end of 50 years of activism, but I will always remain an activist. It has been a special privilege to serve in various capacities and hopefully I can contribute by passing on what I know to a new and younger generation,” Gordhan told Business Day said.

The ANC’s list of candidates must be submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Friday and Gordhan’s announcement may be in response to speculation that he is not on the ruling party’s list of preferred parliamentary candidates.

Not everyone will shed a tear when Gordhan finally closes the office door behind him; critics who believe he should bear the blame for the continued struggling performances of numerous state-owned institutions for which his department is responsible will probably celebrate.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of Build One South Africa (Bosa), said in response to Gordhan’s announcement that state-owned enterprises (SBOs) are in a much more dire situation today than the day Gordhan was appointed to his current position.

“The president should have fired him for his failures at Eskom, the South African Airlines and several other SBOs,” Maimane wrote on X.

“We will call him back to parliament to account as a key priority.”

The political analyst Jamie Mighti wrote on X that “Gordhan’s legacy is one of secrecy and failure to account”.