SOUTH AFRICA – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has appointed Ian Plaatjies as the corporation’s new Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Plaatjies, who replaces Craig van Rooyen, is expected start working at the public broadcaster in November. Craig van Rooyen took the position in an acting capacity after the firing of Chris Maroleng in April 2019 due to disciplinary cases.

Maroleng was appointed in January 2018 tasked with cleaning up the SABC. He took over from the controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was fired in June 2017 for bringing the SABC into disrepute.

An internal disciplinary hearing found that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications, that he purged the SABC of staff and promoted people and raised salaries without following the correct procedures.

Maroleng is said to have been found guilty of three of four charges he faced at a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Plaatjies joins the SABC from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) where he is the Chief Digital Officer.  He has more than 30 years’ experience in various industries, including telecommunications, mining, banking and the financial services sector. 

Mr Plaatjies has held the senior executive positions of Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) at SBV and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Absa Group Payments, respectively.

“The SABC board, management and all its employees wish Mr Plaatjies well in his new role. He has the required expertise, experience and leadership skills to lead in this critical position,” SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said in a statement.

“Mr Plaatjies will add tremendous value to the executive team headed by GCEO Madoda Mxakwe and joins the SABC at a critical time as the public broadcaster implements its turnaround strategy.”

He holds an MBA, BA, Higher Diploma in Management Practice, Diploma in Electronics and Project Management.

The SABC has been battling financially after years of mismanagement. The South African Broadcasting Corporation is the public broadcaster in South Africa and provides 19 radio stations as well as five television broadcasts to the general public. It is one of the largest of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises.