NEWS

Pravin Gordhan Arrives At World Economic Forum

The former finance minister had earlier described how he heard about his firing through the media.

03/05/2017 08:36 SAST | Updated 03/05/2017 17:04 SAST
Rogan Ward / Reuters
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan reacts during a South Africa Communist Party rally in Durban, South Africa, April 22, 2017. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has arrived at WEF-Africa in Durban as a delegate.

Gordhan is a WEF regular and a fixture at its regional meetings across the continent as well as the annual global meeting in Davos although he is not on the agenda as a speaker. Instead, the gathering is very much the show of his successor Malusi Gigaba, who is hosting his first forum. Former finance minister Trevor Manuel is also speaking at this week's meeting of over 1000 business, government and civil society leaders.

In an earlier interview, Gordhan described hearing about his axing through the media, and said he never received notice of this from President Jacob Zuma himself. In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Maverick, Gordhan explained how the president did not contact him to thank him for his service to the country, and there has been no contact from the presidency since.

Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas were fired on March 30 this year.

Ten ministers, including Gordhan, and 10 deputy ministers were affected by the Cabinet reshuffle, which was announced by the presidency in a statement just after midnight, on the morning of March 30.

At his final media briefing, Gordhan said he was informed of his fate via the media.

In his latest interview, he was asked by Daily Maverick whether there has been communication from the presidency since. There had not been any.

The only communication was the public statement issued to the press, announcing the reshuffle, he said.

Gordhan told the publication that he was confused about why his relationship with the president was deemed so bad, the president could not have contacted him about this. He said his relationship with Zuma had always been constructive. He had seen Zuma the week before the firing and had also seen him at an ANC national executive committee meeting a few days before.

"There was no indication that anything was amiss," he told Daily Maverick.

"I know the president from 1974 when we were a bunch of young activists in KZN. People like him, Sunny Singh, the late Judson Khuzwayo and others were released from Robben Island. As far as I am concerned, we have enjoyed a good relationship, particularly in the first term of office. It was a very constructive engagement that we've always enjoyed between the Treasury, including myself, and himself... I am not sure where that so-called breakdown comes from," he said in the interview.

Gordhan told Daily Maverick that the hostility towards him from his colleagues during that time had been "extraordinary".

"One would expect that if there are issues to be raised of a collegial nature then there are proper channels through which those issues need to be raised. The very fact that they are allowed to express themselves publicly without any constraints being placed on them now begins to fit into a wider picture of a particular brand of politics that is now being played out," he said.