Van Dam, who helped set up the channel’s weather service when he joined in 2008, has decided to return home to the United States where he will be joining CNN International.
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,” Conroy said.
“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.”
Van Dam said he planned to spend a lot of time in South Africa in the future, not just because he was granted permanent resident. He also proposed to his long-term South African girlfriend, Tara Hossack, this weekend at the finish line of the Comrades Marathon after he and Hossack completed the race together.
Van Dam said, “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 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.