Yusuf Abramjee joined Talk Radio 702 as a freelance reporter ahead of the first democratic election in 1994. He was based in Pretoria and filed so many stories that the company appointed him full time in 1995.
Crime subsequently became a major issue and Yusuf was appointed as 702 and 567’s Crime Editor in 1996. Over the years, he became synonymous with breaking news…and arrived at many crime scenes, accidents and fires before the police or emergency services even knew about them.
The highlight of Yusuf’s career was when he cornered fugitive cash heist kingpin, Colin Chauke, hours after he was arrested and Yusuf managed to get the famous words: “I feel good” out of Chauke as he left the court building. It made national headlines. In fact, this story won him a number of awards. For three consecutive years, Yusuf was named Journalist of the Year, Audio-Visual Reporter of the Year and Radio Reporter of the Year for his various exclusive reports from crime to politics.
In early 2001, Yusuf was appointed acting news editor and then Station Manager for 702. In June 2005, Yusuf was appointed Primedia Broadcasting’s Group Head of News and Talk Programming. He was one of the main founders of the Crime Line campaign and in June 2007 it was officially launched with him at the helm. The successes are well-recorded –THOUSANDS OF arrests have been made and millions of rands of stolen property, counterfeit goods and drugs have been seized thanks to tip-offs to Crime Line. Yusuf headed up crime line to December 2015.
He became the first person of colour to be elected chairperson of the National Press Club in its 22-year history. He was re-elected chairperson in July 2001 and May 2002. He took over the reigns at the NPC again from 2010 – 2012. He recently stepped down to focus on his other commitments. Yusuf is also a member of the South African National Editors’ Forum- SANEF. Yusuf took the salute from the National Ceremonial Guard in May 2001 at Pretoria’s Church Square for his contributions to the media.
He was awarded the Security Association of South Africa’s “Security Personality of the Year” award in September 2001 “in recognition of dedicated and comprehensive coverage of security and crime related incidents in South Africa via the medium of radio which coverage relentlessly seeks the truth in an unbiased and uncompromising manner.”
In June 2005, Yusuf received the Pretoria 2000 Toastmasters “Leadership and Communicator of the Year” Award. This was in “recognition of his outstanding communication and leadership skills in relentlessly seeking the truth in an unbiased manner this promoting effective communication through freedom of expression.”
He was named the Security Association of South Africa’s “Personality of the Year” in September 2007 for the Crime Line initiative. In June 2008, Yusuf received recognition from the South African Police Service’s top management for contributing to the fight against crime – with particular reference to Crime Line.
In 2010 Yusuf accepted three top international media awards for Crime Line, an initiative he spearheaded, at the Crime Stoppers International (CSI) conference that was held in Halifax, Canada. The crime tip-off service reaped in the print, radio and television awards for communities over 5-million. In subsequent years, several other awards were also won.
Yusuf is one of the founding members of Lead SA, a Primedia Broadcasting and Independent Newspapers initiative that aims to highlight the achievements of the nation and celebrate the efforts of ordinary South Africans who continually seek to do the right thing for themselves, their families, their communities and the country at large. It encourages individuals to stand up and Lead SA.
In February 2011 Yusuf received a Community Service Award from the Turquoise Harmony Institute for his continued work with Crime Line towards a safer South Africa. He was also awarded by Toastmaster International with the 2011 Communication & Leadership Award.
In October 2011, Yusuf exposed a clergyman involved in defrauding the Gauteng Department of Education with private school subsidies awarded to two schools he owns on the West Rand. This has led to an independent audit on private school subsidies to curb the gross misuse of money meant for the education of the country’s youth.
In November 2011 Yusuf was named the Adfocus Newsmaker of the year for grabbing headlines for his efforts to assist in curbing the rise in police killings, driving an initiative that subsequently raised R2.1-million for the Police Widows and Orphans Fund. He was also the man behind the memorable Springboks’ Farewell and has been on the forefront of challenges to government’s Protection of Information Bill.
He’s a born news-hound, a pillar of his community and continues to work tirelessly to ensure wrongdoings are exposed, and to make our country a safer place.
In December. 2015, Yusuf left Primedia to take up the position of global communications director of Crime Stoppers International (CSI) and also chair of the media committee. He also announced his involvement in local and global initiatives. In November 2015, Yusuf Abramjee was named “Primedian of the Year”.