11 December 2018

South Africa: Are Richard's Bay Coal Exports the Cause of SA's Current Power Crisis?

Photo: EskomSouthAfrica
Eskom Megawatt Park (file photo).
analysis

A message circulating like wildfire on social media claims that Chinese ships are currently waiting to be loaded with millions of tons of coal in Richard's Bay. This message says this casts doubt on Eskom's alleged narrative that a shortfall of decent coal is contributing to the need for load shedding. It is further claimed that all flying has suddenly been restricted over Richard's Bay. We investigated.

"7.2 million tons of coal destined for China from Richard's Bay Harbour," claims a message doing the rounds on social media.

"36 Chinese ships are waiting for coal to be loaded in Richard's Bay Harbour. Where is the shortage now, Eskom?"

It claims that Eskom has "huge stockpiles of coal", but the parastatal is concealing this "because they want that 15% increase in electricity tariffs".

As a post-script, it adds: "All flying is suddenly 'restricted' over Richard's Bay - the reason is obvious! This is not just an Eskom deal - it's an ANC deal/ploy!"

We'll start with the final claim, which is the most straightforward to check.

Is flying restricted over Richard's Bay? Answer: No

It is possible to search no-fly zones internationally on the US government's Federal...

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