Alec Hogg discusses Eskom, wet coal and the Van der Riet rule

The Daily Insider of 18 November 2018 suggested those running Megawatt Park should honour their late colleague Mark van der Riet who died that week when his stress-weakened heart gave in. For 32 months Van der Riet, Eskom’s top coal scientist, fought a Gupta-inspired suspension for refusing to accept sub-standard coal. Friends reckon that killed him.

Given everything which has gone on at Eskom during the past year, those charged with keeping SA’s lights on have had plenty to occupy their minds. But after the past week’s ridiculous ‘wet coal’ excuse for another load shedding debacle, it is surely time to revisit Van der Riet’s passing. And honour him by introducing something to save the country a fortune.

Eskom should bring in a “Van der Riet rule” to enforce contracted coal quality standards – something over which its 56-year-old employee paid the ultimate sacrifice. If power station managers applied this rule, Eskom could forever dispense with its ‘wet coal’ excuse – which insults SA’s collective intelligence given far wetter countries burn their coal just fine.

Every South African knows the real issue has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with graft. In this case, including waste and rocks to bulk up the product Eskom is forced to purchase. Ramaphosa’s Administration has had almost two years to address what is a pretty basic issue. The patience of SA’s beleaguered citizens is not infinite.

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