Newly appointed SABC chief operations officer (COO) Chris Maroleng was delighted to have bagged the top job at South Africa’s public broadcaster, he told News24.
“Wow! I am excited. And a bit scared at the same time,” said Maroleng, speaking ahead of the official announcement made on Tuesday.
“It’s a daunting role but there is so much opportunity there. The institution is one of our treasures.”
He said he was looking forward to working with the staff at the SABC.
The public broadcaster announced the former eNCA presenter’s appointment as its COO on Tuesday.
“[BREAKING NEWS] Chris Maroleng has been appointed as chief operations officer of the SABC, with effect from 1 February 2018,” the SABC tweeted.
“I am stoked,” Maroleng told News24.
He has previously worked as the executive for group corporate affairs at the MTN Group and as Africa editor for eNCA for six years. He has also been a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies.
The portfolio committee on communications welcomed Maroleng’s appointment on Tuesday.
“Looking at Mr Maroleng’s experience, expertise and qualifications, the Chairperson (Humprey Maxegana) has full confidence that he will bring stability and lead the previously-embattled SABC on the growth trajectory that is urgently required.”
The committee also noted the SABC board’s commitment to filling managerial posts, adding that it hopes the post of Chief Operations Officer and of the Chief Financial Officer, once filled, will strengthen the management team.
‘Touch me on my studio’
Maroleng was part of a now famous broadcast of a 2010 panel discussion on the relationship between farmworkers and their employers on the show Africa 360 on eNCA during which André Visagie, the former secretary general of the right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, lost his temper at political analyst Lebohang Pheko.
Visagie ripped off his microphone and stormed off set only to return and continue shouting at Pheko.
Maroleng stood up and put his arm across Visagie, to keep him away from Pheko, and told Visagie: “Touch me, and you’ll be in trouble.”
Maroleng repeated menacingly: “Touch me on my studio…” until an angry Visagie was led off set.
“Touch me on my studio” went on to launch memes, and was remixed into several songs.
Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng was fired by the broadcaster last June for bringing the SABC into disrepute and causing irreparable damage to his employer.