Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: REUTERS
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: REUTERS

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has indicated that he is willing to serve a year in Cabinet, but after that he would like to resign.

Gordhan has been touted as a potential stand-in finance minister until elections next year or as public enterprises minister.

"I would actually retire if I can, but … if there is another year service which I can offer … well let’s see if I have any use," Gordhan told a seminar at Werksmans Attorneys on Monday.

During his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated he would be trimming the already bloated Cabinet. He also spoke on configuring the way state-owned enterprises operated and how their boards were appointed.

After being fired as finance minister, Gordhan joined Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises, which has been investigating corruption and allegations of state capture within these institutions, such as Eskom. He has been vocal about the corruption within state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

In his address, Ramaphosa said government would remove nonexecutive board members from any role in procurement at SOEs and would work with the auditor-general to strengthen external audit processes.

Gordhan on Monday said the country was learning through all the exposés that procurement was the key channel through which the corrupt operated and obtained the collaboration of people in senior positions and people on the boards.

"Now you have all connected the dots, so to speak, you know that ministers are involved, directors-general are involved, officials in national departments are involved, senior managers are involved, board members are involved — so you have quite a toxic mix or network that has been serving the purposes of state capture and corruption and ,… stealing state resources, including your taxes."

Gordhan said what he understood from Ramaphosa’s address last week was that there would be a total overhaul of the system. He said many of the interventions, policies and ideas proposed will take some time to implement but the government could redirect SOEs.

However, people needed to recognise the "Bell Pottinger effect", where people appeared before the parliamentary committee "waxing lyrical about their role" yet it was a public relations exercise.

This was a veiled reference to former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana, who gave an explosive account of the machinations of state capture before the committee despite his leaving Prasa under a cloud over reports of procurement irregularities.