Power utility Eskom on Wednesday called on consumers to switch off geysers, pool pumps and all non-e.
Rejoice Marota's daily routine starts at 8.30am when she arrives at the municipality's office in Brakpan.
She reads, drinks tea, has lunch and then goes home at 4.30pm because she has nothing to do owing to the fact that she does not have a position.
For being idle she receives a gross salary of R15,000, taking home at the end of the month a net pay of about R9,600.
She has been receiving annual increases and bonuses since 2007 - meaning that she has cost Ekurhuleni ratepayers about R1.8-million.
She said she was told she is in a "pool", which means she does not have a position. Marota said she gets all the full benefits of a municipal employee.
Marota joined the municipality in 1991 as a senior administrative clerk. When municipalities were integrated into one in 2000, she was moved to a new department.
She worked as a secretary to one of the bosses until he retired and when the new boss was appointed, he came with his own secretary.
Marota, who lives in KwaThema, Springs, said the process really frustrated her.
"It has been frustrating to sit around the whole day doing nothing. But I am not complaining about getting paid for sitting around. I have been waiting for years to be placed, but nothing happens."
South African Municipal Workers' Union shop steward Dominic Phala said the union has been fighting Marota's cause for years.
"This case is odd because when positions were available, the municipality did not want to give them to her. It looks like there is a personal grudge in all this."
Ekurhuleni municipality spokesman Samuel Modiba said there is no such a thing as employees being in a "pool".
"The employee is currently deployed to the finance department. The process of securing an alternative position for her is ongoing and a number of options are being explored," he explained.
"If the employee is unhappy about how the process of assisting her to find a suitable placement is unfolding she has a number of internal avenues she can explore, including lodging a grievance. We remain committed to finding an amicable solution to the situation."
Apart from fighting the idling issue, Marota also claims she was underpaid because her salary stayed pegged at a lower grade over the years.
Earlier this year, she won a salary dispute and the employer was instructed to improve her salary scale to a higher grade - despite remaining in the "pool".
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE PRINTED NEWSPAPER ON 18 OCTOBER 2012