Using radio to ask hard questions and challenge the status quo

Stephen Grootes started his B Journ degree at Rhodes University in 1994, the year of the first free and fair elections in South Africa’s history. His career as a political reporter has seen him becoming well known for his analysis of local political players and events. 

As the political landscape in democratic South Africa became increasingly complex and beset by corruption, Grootes has followed the important figures and stories with tenacity, being described as “the ‘thorn in the side’ of many politicians, managing to retrieve all of the answers to all of the big questions.”  A recent example of this was the blustering, over the top response given by a certain Transport Minister to an article penned by Grootes. The usual internet-related injunction to not read the comments did not apply in this case – the comments section was full of support for Grootes and his insightful commentary on the matter.   

Starting his radio career as a student at Rhodes Music Radio, Grootes later became well-known as the host of the Midday Report on Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He resigned from his position at Radio 702 and Eyewitness News in 2018 to start a new career with SAFM Radio as host of SAFM Sunrise, and as a presenter on 24-hour TV news channel Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405). 

Grootes contributes regularly to the Daily Maverick, and is very active on Twitter; he has spun his political acumen into a book called SA Politics Unspun, which is described as a roadmap to South Africa’s complex political landscape. Other roles in his long and illustrious career include senior political journalist for EWN, working in radio news in London, and as editor of Sunrise Radio. In 2022 his “contribution to political analysis and his determination to get answers from politicians to the big questions facing South Africa” was recognised by his alma mater, Rhodes University, when he was honoured by the School of Journalism and Media Studies with a JMS50  Alumni Award.