It is with great sadness and tremendous gratitude that eNCA announces the departure of weather anchor Derek Van Dam. Van Dam has decided to return to his home country, the United States, where he will be joining CNN International.
He joined eNCA in 2008 and helped set up the weather service for the 24-hour news channel on DStv channel 403. Previously, Van Dam worked for NBC in Michigan before being requested to come to South Africa by Head of News Patrick Conroy to set up a local weather division.
"At the time we needed someone with his level of broadcasting experience to help us get started. Six years later and we have an entire department of meteorologists and climatologists producing round-the-clock weather updates," says Conroy.
"Derek has done the job we asked him to do. We are greatly indebted to him and we know South Africa will miss him too. He became one of us," he adds.
Derek Van Dam says he is leaving to be closer to friends and family in the US and take up a post with CNN International in Atlanta. However he is expected to be a regular visitor to our shores after he proposed to his long-term South African girlfriend, Tara Hossack, this weekend. Van Dam proposed at the finish line of the Comrades Marathon after he and Hossack completed the race together.
Says Derek Van Dam, "Living and working in South Africa has been a tremendous honour for me. I will be forever grateful to my colleagues at eNCA for the experiences and knowledge that we shared together as well as the tremendous support from the countless South Africans who welcomed me into their homes every night on TV."
"I have also been granted permanent residence, so I plan to spend a lot of time in South Africa in the future," says Van Dam. He adds: "I have mixed emotions about leaving the country of which I have grown to love. But as my mother always taught me, 'don't be sad that it's over, be happy that it happened'. This is not a goodbye South Africa rather it is a 'see you later, and have a good one!'"
eNCA's climatologist, Candice McKechnie, will be the acting head of eNCA's weather for the time being. Van Dam is due to leave for the US in July.