Chris Maroleng. Picture: SUPPLIED

The SABC has confirmed it has appointed former journalist Chris Maroleng as its chief operating officer (COO) with effect from February 1.

"Mr Maroleng has demonstrated considerable management and financial acumen and he is familiar with the cutting-edge Fourth Industrial Revolution issues the SABC needs to embrace going forward. He understands SA’s legislative and regulatory environment and his knowledge of broadcasting on the continent is invaluable as the SABC develops its coverage of, and in, Africa," the SABC said on Tuesday.

Maroleng was, until recently, the group executive for corporate affairs at MTN.

He said: "I accept the position at the SABC with deep humility and appreciate the confidence the board has shown in me. I look forward to playing a role, as part of an executive team, in transforming the SABC into a world-class public broadcaster that is responsive to the needs of all South Africans."

The SABC, which is facing its worst financial crisis to date, has not had a permanent COO since the sacking of Hlaudi Motsoeneng in July 2017. It is still to appoint a permanent CEO and chief financial officer.

It is also understood that the Treasury will not advance the R3bn government guarantee the SABC has requested until the public broadcaster deals with several issues, including the appointment of executives. Treasury sources have said there was concern that without permanent executives in place there would be no accountability at the SABC, increasing the likelihood its turnaround plan would fail.

The public broadcaster said the board’s priority has always been to urgently fill the top three executive vacancies, as expected and mandated by Parliament. "We believe the appointment of the COO is a significant step towards stabilising the executive leadership of the SABC. The board is satisfied that this appointment process has followed all legal and governance requirements."

Adverts for the CEO and chief financial officer position have been placed and the deadline for applications has been extended to February 14, the SABC said.

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