The 100-year-old family burial site and the nearby heritage site of the largest concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War have become illegal dumping sites, and the town where her parents still live has been without running water for close on seven years.
When the municipal executive agreed on a payment plan in January, BloemWater restored the supply at 70% of capacity. It has been kept on despite not one cent of that payment plan being honoured.
Grobler, who lives in the former municipal manager's old house across the road from the council’s storage facilities, said the electricity supply was cut to all government buildings at the beginning of November, including the traffic department, post office, magistrate's court, and ambulance and police services.
As a candidate councillor in the November municipal elections, Grobler said: "The electricity bill was not paid for years. I’m still investigating this matter, but it had nothing to do with load-shedding.”
But Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha denied the power supply to the municipality had been cut, saying the council’s total outstanding debt is about R9.5m.
“The municipality had recently indicated it would be settled in full in the coming weeks,” he said.
Whether the equitable stake from Treasury will cover that amount and outstanding salaries remains unclear, as Tseletsele said he is still awaiting a proper report from the acting municipal manager and CFO.
On the R30m owed to BloemWater, Tseletsele said it was “historical".
"However, the council has taken upon itself to create a payment turnaround strategy that needs to deal with down-payment of our debts."
He did not mention the previous failed payment arrangement with the utility, but said the new council was "investigating deviation from that”.
The Kopanong municipality council has 17 members, nine of them ward councillors. The ANC won 11 seats in November.