Mr Gordhan was involved in politics in the late 1960s.
and he took part in the Natal Indian Congress call to boycott elections in 1980s. He organised and led the Student Movement and Civic Structures during the 1970s and 1980s and he participated in the underground structures of the African National Congress (ANC) for four years.During that period he has been detained three times by the Apartheid government.
Mr Gordhan has participated in the Multi-party talks at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in 1990. During that period he was Co-Chairperson of Transitional Executive Council which prepared the country for the elections between 1991 and 1994 and participated in drafting the White Paper on Local Government which laid the foundation for developing Local Government Authorities.
He was involved in the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP). He became the member of Parliament between 1994 and 1998. During that period he served as a Chairperson of Parliamentary Constitutional Committee which had oversight over implementation of the new Constitution in 1996.
Mr Gordhan has worked as Pharmacist at the King Edward V11 Hospital in Durban from 1974 to 1981. Prior to the appoitment as a Minister of Finance, Mr Gordhan served as a Deputy Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service between 1998 and 1999 and as a Commissioner of South Africa Revenue Service from 1999 to 2009.
During this period he was Chairperson of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) until 2006. He was also a Chairperson of the Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development between 2008 and 2009.