Eskom's sudden withdrawal of an objection to Glencore's merger with Xstrata, since coming to an agreement with the company, has puzzled observers.
President Jacob Zuma signed a bilateral energy agreement with Botswana President Ian Khama on August 31 to buy coal from that country.
The decision to deliver coal deposits to either the Indian or Atlantic ocean has international implications, writes Roman Grynberg.
The ANC wants to ensure the state power utility's future needs are met, but it has also acknowledged the need to move to other energy sources.
The regional strategy head of Anglo American has said Eskom could run out of domestic coal in the long term if there is no infrastructure development.
At least four cargoes of South African coal were sold back to the original sellers by Chinese buyers during the past month, all coming from Europe.