Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has recounted publicly, for the first time, his experience of the reshuffle that left him ousted from Cabinet last year, saying he learned with the rest of the country that he was fired as finance minister.
Giving oral evidence before the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, Gordhan affirmed that he was not given the courtesy of being told that he was removed as minister of Finance and a member of Cabinet in March of 2017.
He told Zondo that he found out then-president Jacob Zuma removed him as minister with the rest of the country when the news broke on that Thursday night.
The public enterprises minister was giving oral evidence to the commission on Monday morning, after his draft statements leaked to the media earlier in the month.
“It was not until March of the following year that I learned that I was relieved of my duties as minister just after midnight. I was not extended the courtesy of being told that I was relieved of my duties,” said Gordhan.
He also told the commission that when Zuma proposed he replace Des Van Rooyen in December 2015 in a second stint as finance minister, he was hesitant to take up the position.
“I met with the president in his residence and was asked to take up the position. I expressed that others would be better suited. After consulting my family, I accepted the position from December 2016,” said Gordhan.
The rand plunged as a result of Gordhan’s axing in March 2017. He was replaced by Malusi Gigaba.
Gordhan’s testimony continues.