The fundamental importance of the coal value chain to the South African economy means that its dual crises required a consistent, strategic and whole-of-government response. This study aims to provide a holistic analysis of the value chain as the basis for developing more strategic options. It first outlines the scope of the coal value chain and its impact on the economy overall. It then describes the disruption in the electricity supply, and the impact of the climate emergency. Finally it reviews factors in the policy environment that made it more difficult to establish a coherent and strategic national response to the disruptions in the coal industry. Based on this analysis, the conclusions outline the implications for policy options.