Gordhan was speaking in a packed St George's Cathedral at Ahmed Kathrada's memorial service in Cape Town.
This was shortly after he said that honest people are being criminalised and are refusing to work in public service.
"We would not have the downgrade by the way if we just behaved ourselves," he told a very supportive crowd, after he assured the citizens that South Africa would overcome difficulties of the downgrade.
Ahmed Kathrada's aim was to ensure that we have economical emancipation and a new level of social cohesion. Unless we are radical to go to the root of the problem, we won't be solving SA's problems, he said.
This was before he said what Ahmed Kathrada would have wished for and liked us to know: Find unity among ourselves and don't give up.
Pravin Gordhan was speaking in a packed St George's Cathedral at Ahmed Kathrada's memorial service in Cape Town. Picture: MojoIOL
An announcement from SA Communist Party deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin that the SACP fully supports calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down also received a warm reception.
However, he made it clear that when Ahmed Kathrada called for the resignation of Zuma, there was no animosity and that he was doing it for the future of South Africa.
Cronin also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendation by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for a judicial commission of inquiry into all dealings between public entities and companies owned by Zuma's friends, the Gupta family.
"We call for the revoking of citizenship and revoking of residential rights of Guptas," said Cronin.
"We call for lifestyle audits for all ministers, all deputy ministers and for board members of state-owned companies."
Cronin said the SACP would stand its ground when it meets with the ruling African National Congress top six - by expressing their disappointment at recent events, which include a cabinet reshuffle, followed by a downgrade to junk status by a rating agency.
African News Agency and IOL