Our Story

We all have the right to basic water and sanitation services which are ‘safe, reliable, environmentally sound, easy to keep clean, [provide] privacy and protection against the weather,’ as it is written the Constitution of South Africa under the Water Services Act, 1997 (Act No. 108 of 1997). We also all have a right to a warm, clean water shower with all its invigorating benefits counting its protecting the body from dirt and infections.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) used to heat water for POVO showers in households with running water fast became the cleaner, natural energy alternative throughout homes. It provided more affordable and accessible thermal fuel for cooking, boiling and temperature control — evolving what was once POVO Shower Systems into the broader POVO Gas Solutions.

CSI Benefits

Our Mission

The Portuguese ‘Povo Premeiro’ translates to 'Batho Pele' in SeSotho and ‘People First’ in English. Batho Pele is a government principle to deliver good service to the people.
POVO, a non-profit organisation, aims to deliver cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy for domestic use and water heating for sanitation purposes and personal hygiene to millions of South African households — putting people first.

Our Founder

Colonel Johnny Sexwale was born and raised in the township of Dube Village in Soweto during what would be written in history as the height of resistance against the Apartheid government. Growing up in a household of two parents and six children that often provided refuge to extended family and friends from afar — their crowded conditions were echoed in township homes everywhere.

Yearning for freedom for all, he left his family as a 19-year-old and joined the underground structures of the African National Congress (ANC) where he recruited hundereds of students whom he transported across the border to Swaziland. He was exiled in Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia; spending many years in Angola as a commander of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC. This was before relocating to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to study Military and Political Science. He learned the specialised skill of counterfeiting documents, passports and stamps.

Even as a democratic country, millions of South Africans continue to live in densely populated areas with inadequate infrastructure and sanitation services—the legacy of a government that offered no reparations to the largely disadvantaged Black populations. The former freedom fighter and businessman’s deep-rooted love for his people would shape his career as an activist against a corrupt regime and founder of POVO Premeiro.