As Cape Town hurtled towards Day Zero last year, one local invention was on everyone’s lips as the essential ally to alleviate the water crisis: the JoJo tank. The story of the tank, an unassuming plastic vessel ranging in size from 20l to 20,000l, is a gripping tale of local entrepreneurship thrust into the global spotlight. With more than R650m in sales every year, it even threatens to shade the Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner as the most iconic SA invention. It all started in the 1970s in Groblersdal, Limpopo, when lucerne farmer Johannes Joubert (from whose name the tanks got their moniker) hit on a better system of storing and using rainwater. Joubert, speaking to the FM this week, says he was tinkering with making fibreglass canopies for motorboats when he realised how farmers were being ripped off by the suppliers of fibreglass fertiliser tanks. "They were overpricing the tanks … I used to use fibreglass initially and then plastic became a better option. It’s less labour-intensive...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now