Pravin Gordhan. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Pravin Gordhan. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has confirmed that public enterprise Minister Pravin Gordan has tertiary qualifications.

Gordan faced criticism when an old tweet from March 2016 resurfaced questioning whether he had any post-matric qualifications. 

In the 2016 tweet Africa Check, an organisation aimed at providing accuracy in the media, tagged UKZN and wrote, “Please let us know when we can expect a response to our query regarding Pravin Gordhan's qualifications?”

Almost three years later, the Durban-based university responded in a short statement released on Monday. “The Office of the Registrar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) confirms that Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan studied and successfully completed the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Pharmacy in 1973,” read the statement signed by Ashton Bodrick, the executive director for corporate relations.

In addition, the enterprises minister “received an Honorary Doctorate in 2003 and the Convocation Award in 2013 from UKZN”, according to the statement.

Speculation surrounding Gordhan’s qualification surfaced amid looming battle between the public enterprise minister and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Last week, Mkhwebane called for the criminal prosecution of Gordhan when she released a report on her findings  that he was involved in setting up and running a “rogue unit” to spy on politicians, in violation of the constitution.  Gordhan was head of SA's tax collection agency at the time.

Mkhwebe also found that the unit had unlawfully performed irregular intelligence operations and that procurement rules were not followed when spying equipment was bought.   

The Nugent commission of inquiry into Sars has cleared Gordhan of wrongdoing. Mkhwebane has been  accused of using her office to fight factional battles within the ANC. 

The report forms part of formal complaints previously lodged against Gordhan by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu about Gordhan’s role in the unit. The political party could use the findings as ammunition to push for Gordhan to be fired. 

Mkhwebane also said that the public enterprises minister mislead parliament when he said he did not recall meeting the Guptas, a wealthy family at the centre of state capture.