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Contemporary Survey of Workplace
HIV/AIDS Policies and Practices
in South Africa
OCCASIONAL PAPER 9
A Contemporary Survey of Workplace
HIV/AIDS Policies and Practices
in South Africa
the HIV/AIDS pandemic envelops sub-Saharan Africa, the impact
of the disease on South African society and culture broadens.
From a lack of hospital beds to an ever increasing
number of AIDS orphans, South Africa displays the symptoms of
an afflicted nation. While
average adult infection rates throughout the country have
temporarily stabilized, the nation grapples with the enormity
of the disease. In
South Africa, a country of nearly 47 million citizens,
approximately five million individuals carry the HIV virus.
This fact gives South Africa the ominous distinction of
possessing the highest number of HIV positive individuals of
any country in the world.
reality has affected South African society in many different
spheres, including in the home, school, and workplace
tests have recorded the highest rates of infection in the
critical wage-earning age groups, the younger generations that
South Africa depends upon to guide it through its promising
but tumultuous post-apartheid years.
As young and old struggle to cope with the complexities
of the HIV virus, one thing becomes increasingly certain.
With nearly a quarter of the adult population infected,
South Africa’s government, businesses, and citizens must
face HIV as an imperative issue in all areas of life,
including the workplace.
No organization can guarantee its workplace safe from
the effects of HIV, and the disease has already surfaced in
workplaces ranging from local supermarkets to the halls of
individuals infected by HIV will remain integral to the future
of South Africa, especially as new technology, pharmaceutical
treatments, and improved nutritional knowledge result in
increased life expectancies for HIV positive individuals.
light of the current situation, every South African company
has a legal, moral, and, notably, financial responsibility to
enact a comprehensive HIV/AIDS workplace policy.
Even the smallest company has effortless access to many
government and community facilities which can aid in creating
an effective policy.
South African government guidelines accurately represent
contemporary academic thought on proper HIV/AIDS policies.
Even with these readily available resources, however, a
disturbing proportion of businesses appear reluctant to engage
in proactive holistic HIV/AIDS workplace policies.
Select exceptions do exist, however, as witnessed in
progressive actions taken by South African corporations such
as Old Mutual and Pick `n Pay. By examining the reasons for this continued corporate
obstinacy, and identifying ways to overcome these obstacles,
South African citizens can spur the development of proactive
HIV/AIDS workplace policies.
A coalition consisting of government, business, and
community organizations can ensure that businesses take a
proactive stance on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
This stance will not only address the preventive facets
of HIV/AIDS education, but also provide the support necessary
for HIV positive individuals in the workplace to contribute to
the growth and success of South Africa in the foreseeable
an HIV/AIDS Policy is essential for every business
The compelling reasons for a business to establish an
effective policy include both financial and ethical
a strategic planning perspective, an HIV/AIDS policy can
provide a competitive advantage to a business.
It can also decrease financial losses, and can add
intrinsic value to a company’s stock.
From an ethical viewpoint, the policy can reflect a
company’s moral character, and proactively engage employees
with a compassionate culture of caring, further nurturing
employee loyalty and productivity.
From a strategic perspective, the introduction of an
effective policy can beneficially set a company apart from its
competitors for both potential employees and customers.
South Africa currently faces a desperate situation
where 23% of skilled workers and 13% of highly skilled workers
will be infected with HIV by 2005.
a company in virtually any field, these numbers hold
Kenneth Marcus, the former chairperson of the AIDS Foundation
of South Africa summarized, shrewd potential shareholders of a
company will look to see what steps have been taken to reduce
or neutralize the effects of the epidemic on margins and
In this manner, a proactive HIV/AIDS policy will serve
as a strategic competitive advantage, differentiating a
company from its languid competition.
Additionally, proactive policies can directly relate
to bottom-line economics.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies in diverse
industries, and all studies reached essentially the same
effective HIV policy now, at cost, will save money in the
future by preventing increased medical costs, as well as
reducing other incidental, related costs. According to one of
these studies, if no proactive action is taken, there will be
a 54% increase in the cost of employment in the next five
An effective HIV/AIDS policy can fundamentally decrease
these costs through proper prevention and treatment.
This policy can reduce medical costs, absenteeism, and
lost productivity. As one local airline executive vice-president recently
stated, “As a result of our HIV/AIDS in the workplace
efforts, our workforce is much more at ease with dealing with
these issues. That
in turn has reduced our lost time, and increased our
in that sense, it’s a real bottom-line plus.”
This “bottom-line plus” should appeal to any
From a manager’s viewpoint, a worthwhile policy can
directly increase a company’s value to its shareholders.
This may become especially pertinent if the South
African Institute of Chartered Accountants prevails in its
current efforts, and regulations force listed companies to
disclose the effects HIV/AIDS could have on the
corporation’s bottom line earnings.
publications have recently noted that, “In a country where a
quarter of all workers are HIV positive, you would think that
AIDS-related cost estimates would be high on the agenda when
the share-price of any local company was being assessed.
Strangely, this has not happened yet.”
However, in the coming years as the South African HIV
pandemic becomes an AIDS pandemic, alert shareholders will
almost certainly come to value South African companies
according to the worth of their HIV/AIDS policies.
these impelling financial reasons for adopting an effective
HIV/AIDS policy, businesses should also recognize other
critical benefits that a policy provides to their workers and
should feel a fiduciary responsibility to disclose the
effects, and the handling, of HIV/AIDS within their company.
Investors may see this aspect of diligence as even more
imperative in light of the recent corporate scandals in the
According to the South Africa Institute of
Chartered Accountants, “Many organizations have simply just
not thought about it and it’s not going to go away.
HIV/AIDS is part of doing business in South Africa
today and public companies have a duty to disclose all
certainly can see carrying out this duty as a revealing aspect
of corporate character in South Africa.
A proper HIV/AIDS policy can demonstrate the superior
character of a company when its policies become public.
also have an ethical obligation to mitigate the effects of a
disease that can have such a major impact on the well-being of
their workers. An astute corporation will realize that an appropriate policy
exists as a fundamental element of a compassionate culture of
nurturing a collegial and productive environment, an employer
must actively care for its employees’ emotional and physical
Reg Magennis, health consultant at Deloitte and Touche Human
Capital, recently stated, “Companies that operate like this
(ignoring HIV/AIDS) wait for the worker to become too sick to
work and then terminate his service.
This is not an effective practice.
To wait for the employee to demonstrate he can no
longer do the work is inhumane.
It is not well perceived, and exposes the company to
truly care for its employees, a twenty-first century business
in South Africa must possess an engaging and compassionate
HIV/AIDS policy. These
compelling arguments demonstrate the desirability and
necessity of a proactive HIV/AIDS policy.
In tackling the next logical step, actually creating a
policy, South African companies have numerous resources at
their disposal. These resources include recommendations from the academic and
consulting community, as well as from government-issued
sources concur on the major policy components of an effective
and proactive HIV/AIDS workplace policy.
“The vision which fuelled our struggle for
freedom; the development of energies and resources; the
unity and commitment of common goals - all these will be
needed if we are to bring AIDS under control. This is a war.
We must not continue to be debating, to be arguing, when
people are dying."
Nelson Mandela, February 17, 2002
Contemporary publications on HIV/AIDS holistic
wellness policies abound, with each author slightly revising
the previous dissertation.
For the most part, however, one can readily construct
an exemplary ‘academic’ HIV/AIDS policy.
This policy would incorporate the many facets of
current thought on HIV/AIDS policies.
The following discussion creates an amalgamation of
these resources, an essential “Best Practice” of current
academic thought and research on HIV/AIDS workplace policies.
From a government resource perspective, the South
African government entered a new level of activism in
corporate HIV/AIDS policies with the publication in 2000 of
the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment
this document, the Department of Labour looked beyond the
legal requirements of an HIV/AIDS policy, and proactively
advised businesses on crafting an effective policy that would
be of benefit to both the corporations and their employees.
Both academic and government recommendations mandate
the absolute necessity of upper-management support for
HIV/AIDS programs. All
sources clearly indicate that for a company and its employees
to buy into a proactive HIV/AIDS policy, management must first
devote itself to the cause.
The presence of management enthusiasm, as opposed to
apathy, will promote the eventual success of an
organization’s HIV/AIDS policies.
According to both academic and government sources, an
‘ideal’ HIV/AIDS program contains clear and concise
sources recommend that a given South African company should
first conduct a company-specific risk analysis.
The company has many viable options in conducting this
risk analysis, but experts recommend that the organization
conduct a company-wide, voluntary and anonymous HIV test.
Management should publicly volunteer for this anonymous
testing, and then encourage other employees throughout the
company to participate. The
South African financial services corporation Old Mutual
recently conducted this type of program throughout its
Smaller companies may, however, find this
‘seroprevalence testing’ cost-prohibitive.
Companies seeking a credible, although less revealing,
alternative to sero-prevalance testing can examine the
demographics of their workforce, working conditions, and
workplace behavior to determine a general risk level for their
this risk level, the company can make a general estimate of
HIV/AIDS statistics in their particular workplace.
Once a corporation has executed a risk-analysis
survey, the company can utilize the results from the survey to
determine exactly how to formulate its HIV/AIDS policy.
The intricacies of particular business enterprises
dictate that the effects of HIV/AIDS will impact certain
industries earlier, and potentially to a greater degree, than
others. No matter
where a business fits on the risk analysis, however, the
company must adopt certain minimum facets of an HIV/AIDS
policy, as dictated by both academic and government
objectives include ensuring that employees understand the
company’s feeling on discrimination due to HIV/AIDS in the
South African law mandates this objective, and requires the
prevention of unfair discrimination against HIV positive
employees in the workplace.
Laws passed by Parliament state that a business must
treat an HIV-positive employee equally to any employee with a
“life-threatening illness”. Beyond this objective of avoiding discrimination, a
successful HIV/AIDS policy should mitigate the spread of the
disease and strive to treat those with the disease humanely.
Company-introduced mandatory HIV/AIDS education
constitutes a vital aspect of accomplishing these objectives.
Government guidelines rigorously promote HIV/AIDS
“awareness, education, and training.” Once again, the level of this education and its frequency will
depend on the particular business unit, but should occur at a
minimum of once a year for every employee.
Additionally, orientation programmes for new employees
should include HIV/AIDS education.
The general manager or managing director of the
business should periodically attend the training sessions,
ensuring that employees recognize the importance company
management places on HIV/AIDS education and programs.
Academic research has demonstrated that company
employees who have an interest in educating others on HIV/AIDS
issues - referred to as peer educators - can inject great
worth to a company’s HIV/AIDS program by facilitating
discussions and training. The business can also utilize these
empowered employee advocates as ‘listening posts’ for
feedback on attempted HIV/AIDS policies and programs.
In order to ensure consistency in all business units,
the company must enumerate the exact specifications of
HIV/AIDS education programs in their HIV/AIDS policy.
The government guidelines coincide with these academic
Both government and academic recommendations
stipulate that businesses should also ensure that their
HIV/AIDS policy adequately addresses the emotional needs of
employees. In a
modern South African business, these needs may arise from
being HIV- positive, or simply from working with those who
are. Employees often feel particularly vulnerable when
affected by HIV, and management can play a very important part
in addressing employees’ fears.
The government guidelines direct companies to provide
“openness, acceptance, and support” to any employees who
may voluntarily disclose their status. Businesses should
provide adequate counseling resources to affected employees.
A company may chose to outsource this counseling,
especially in smaller corporations, but the availability of
the counseling resources will ensure that employees do not
feel abandoned by their employer in a time of emotional need.
In this summary view examining current academic
HIV/AIDS policies and the government guidelines, one reaches
the fundamental conclusion that the government guidelines
concur with the academic ‘Best Practice’ ideal policies.
Additionally, the South African government has made its
guidelines readily available through the Department of
Labour’s website, requiring minimal effort to obtain and
implement them. Other
organizations, such as a community’s Chamber of Commerce,
can also readily provide accurate information regarding
HIV/AIDS policies to the enquiring business.
African business enterprises clearly possess both the
financial and ethical motives to proactively implement an
HIV/AIDS policy. Government and private resources exist which make this goal
easily accomplishable. Unfortunately,
a disturbingly high number of businesses throughout South
Africa still have not taken the simple steps necessary to
create an HIV/AIDS workplace policy.
According to the recently conducted Deloitte and Touche
Human Capital Corporation AIDS survey, only 53% of
corporations interviewed possessed a formal HIV/AIDS policy,
as shown below:
1: Does your Company have a formal HIV/AIDS Policy?
No of companies
100 and 500
100 and 500
from “Evaluation of Workplace Responses to HIV/AIDS in South
Africa,” Deloitte and Touche Human Capital Corporation (May
Of these corporations, only 27% had actually
conducted an HIV/AIDS risk-analysis, the first step suggested
in both government and academic publications.
In continuing with this trend of inadequacy, only 11.8%
of the responding organizations mandated HIV/AIDS education
for all employees.
These dismal results were replicated in another recent
South African survey conducted by the Ebony Consulting Group,
in which only 33% of surveyed firms engaged in HIV/AIDS
The above results are especially perplexing when one
considers that, according to the Deloitte and Touche survey,
62% of business managers anticipated that the HIV/AIDS
pandemic would have a moderate or extreme impact on their
These statistics highlight an interesting conundrum
occurring in corporate South Africa. Business managers admit
HIV/AIDS will negatively impact their businesses, yet neglect
to take even the simple steps required to mitigate the effects
of the disease. Careful consideration of this puzzle yields certain
identifiable obstacles to HIV/AIDS policy implementation in
the workplace. Continued
reflection on these obstacles yields a partial
explanation of the current apathetic South African business
response to HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
“In the battle against Apartheid we scored a
tremendous victory in the face of considerable evil...Now as
we enter another battle - the battle against HIV/AIDS - we
need the same solidarity, the same passion, the same
commitment and energy."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
to HIV/AIDS Policy implementation in the workplace
Three specific, but entwined, factors exist as the
root reason for the many inadequate workplace responses
witnessed in South Africa.
The first factor involves a lack of guidance from the
highest ranks of management, resulting from a general
apathetic attitude displayed by much of South African
corporate management on workplace HIV/AIDS policies.
The current nebulous – and so-far unquantifiable -
effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in much of the South African
workforce result in a second obstacle, and perhaps exist as a
proximal cause of management apathy.
Finally, much of the business community feels that the
HIV/AIDS situation does not require specific premeditated
action; managers believe they can adequately deal with the
epidemic by utilizing traditional management styles.
The degree of upper management involvement in
HIV/AIDS policies resounds throughout any organization, for
better or worse. As
both the academic and government-recommended HIV/AIDS policies
state, a successful HIV/AIDS workplace policy requires
involvement at the highest levels of the organization.
Unfortunately, current surveys reveal that only 12% of
South African managing directors actively monitor their
workplace HIV/AIDS programs.
This has led to a general business response to HIV that
one observer describes as “uncoordinated, expensive,
palliative and marginal.”
Fortunately, a concerned executive manager can rapidly
inspire change throughout the company, engendering a sense of
urgency in previously neglected HIV/AIDS policies. An apathetic management approach to dealing with HIV/AIDS
policies virtually guarantees failure, whereas a proactive
management stance can illuminate the policy and its virtues to
the employees. Old
Mutual’s HIV/AIDS policies exist as a testament to the
positive power of a proactive and concerned management. The
astute observer might also reach the logical conclusion that
the inadequacy of current South African government role models
in this area has only amplified the importance of positive
company role models. An
effective HIV/AIDS programme demands a level of emphatic
executive management support that a majority of South African
businesses currently lack.
Another major obstacle to proper HIV/AIDS policy
creation and implementation involves the general ignorance of
management about the ramifications of HIV and AIDS for the
future of businesses. Management
can directly remedy this ignorance by conducting a risk
analysis, a step which so many businesses hesitate to take.
As the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS
recently commented, employers’ current perceptions stem from
“an uninformed knowledge base indicated by the low levels of
risk assessment and lack of any studies of the behaviours or
conditions among the workforce.”
The paradox exists that an employer will not conduct an
HIV/AIDS risk-analysis until it believes the disease will
significantly affect its workforce, but it will not understand
what effect HIV/AIDS will have on its workforce until it
conducts that analysis. Unfortunately,
this lack of management understanding of the implications of
HIV/AIDS has continued unabated, even while management has
expressed an increased personal knowledge of HIV/AIDS and its
effects on their personal lives.
The nebulous nature of the current HIV/AIDS pandemic
in most South African workplaces perpetuates this ‘ignorance
of management’. While
many neglected factors in business become physically visible
to management, such as crumbling factory walls or misbalanced
financial accounts, the effects of HIV/AIDS in the workplace
have traditionally remained obscured for various social and
Current inadequate HIV/AIDS policies ensure that many
HIV positive employees will only reluctantly, if at all, come
forward to management with their condition.
As of 2002, the South African chemical and mining
leader Sasol had only one disclosed HIV positive employee out
of an estimated 3 800.
This veil of ignorance shelters management from the
current and future ramifications of the disease on their
companies who refuse to take a proactive stance on HIV/AIDS in
the workplace will likely not witness the effects of HIV/AIDS
on their businesses until substantial losses have needlessly
last obstacle to the creation of an HIV/AIDS policy in the
workplace revolves around the erroneous belief that a
well-managed and thriving company simply does not require a
progressive HIV/AIDS policy. This belief results from the flawed idea that a company’s
‘compassionate culture of caring’ alone will sufficiently
mitigate the HIV/AIDS situation.
However, due to the frequently indiscernible current
effects of the disease on employees, as witnessed from
Sasol’s statistics, even a company with a tradition of
exceptional caring and close-knit relationships with their
employees will fail without an HIV/AIDS policy.
The existing stigmatizations about HIV in society
require a proactive company stance on HIV, and a corporation
simply cannot take this stance without a well-defined HIV/AIDS
workplace policy. The
lack of an HIV/AIDS policy negates the very best aspects of a
company’s culture of caring, including emotional and
financial support for those in need.
An effective HIV/AIDS policy, however, perfectly
compliments a culture of caring within a corporation by
fostering further trust and companionship.
Intelligent mangers, who attribute their business’s
success to the dynamic company culture which they have
carefully created, must proactively endorse effective HIV/AIDS
policies or risk losing all they have gained.
A Shining Exception: Exemplary
HIV/AIDS Policies at Old Mutual
South African companies have already overcome these obstacles,
and implemented exceptional, proactive HIV/AIDS policies.
Old Mutual, the South African financial services
corporation, stands as a positive example to its peers in
South Africa and throughout the world.
Over the last two years, Old Mutual has taken the
simple steps necessary to ensure that its HIV/AIDS policy proactively serves the best interests of its
employees and their families, and its shareholders. Old Mutual’s HIV/AIDS Workplace Intervention Programme
showcases the integral parts of a successful South African
The outside observer can pinpoint the transformation
of Old Mutual’s HIV/AIDS policies to the appointment of
Deputy Managing Director Peter Moyo to oversee the programme.
His leadership typifies the high-ranking management
involvement required for success.
Since his appointment, Mr Moyo has invigorated Old
Mutual’s HIV/AIDS workplace programme in all aspects of its
existence. He has
consistently displayed management support for the programmes,
both inside and outside the company.
As he recently stated at a press conference, “Given
the reality that South Africa is expected to have more than
one million people living with AIDS over the next five years,
we can expect that Old Mutual will be impacted, given our
This publicly-stated upper-management comprehension
facilitates the implementation of a successful HIV/AIDS
Under the guidance of both Mr Moyo and Managing
Director Roddy Sparks, Old Mutual recently conducted a
progressive company-wide seroprevalence test.
The results of this test will allow the company to
create a detailed risk-analysis.
As Mr Moyo stated, “Accurate measurement allows for
more effective management.”
In this manner, the results of the test will greatly
benefit Old Mutual’s management of HIV/AIDS in the
Mutual also plans to release the results of this survey to the
public in an attempt to encourage other companies to undertake
similar efforts. The
corporation simultaneously conducted a workplace Knowledge,
Aptitude, and Practices study.
Old Mutual will utilize the results of this study to
gauge current employee knowledge of HIV/AIDS issues, and to
estimate the effectiveness of current HIV/AIDS workplace
Old Mutual has also taken a very progressive stance
on employee HIV/AIDS education.
The company utilizes posters, emails, and news flashes
to aid the spread of information on Old Mutual policies.
Besides conducting training sessions in the workplace,
Old Mutual also established an on-line database where
employees can obtain additional information on HIV/AIDS and
Old Mutual’s current HIV/AIDS policies.
In 2002, Old Mutual aims to put at least 10,000
employees through HIV/AIDS workplace training. Additionally, the company recently embarked on an Old Mutual
peer education training program.
By the end of 2002, employees should see peer educators
in company-mandated HIV/AIDS training sessions.
In accomplishing another objective of any worthwhile
HIV/AIDS policy, Old Mutual provides counseling support for
any employees, and their families, affected by HIV/AIDS.
To ensure the confidentiality of this counseling, the
company has outsourced the therapy.
Old Mutual completely covers the cost of the
counseling, and provides specific instructions ensuring access
to the counseling for all employees.
The company receives anonymous statistical feedback
from the counseling agency, which allows management to
determine if the situation requires further resource
Old Mutual has also ensured that workplace unions
maintain a high degree of involvement in the company’s
workplace HIV/AIDS policies.
In developing their current policy, Old Mutual worked
closely with their employee unions, who strongly endorse Old
Mutual’s current policies.
Additionally, the Old Mutual group-scheme business
cooperates closely with trade union clients to develop
beneficial HIV/AIDS projects throughout the country.
The last prong of Old Mutual’s HIV/AIDS policies
involves actively supporting community programmes that care
for those affected by the disease.
In 2001, Old Mutual directly contributed to at least
twenty-eight community HIV/AIDS projects throughout South
the company began its “Adopt-An-Orphan” programme, where
Old Mutual will match all employee donations to AIDS orphans.
The company has pledged at least R1.6 million each
year to these programmes.
According to Mr Moyo, “As a committed South African
corporate citizen, we believe it is imperative for us to help
face the problem and do whatever is necessary to give these
children an equal chance of becoming proud citizens of our
The compelling and engaging attitude assumed by Old
Mutual on HIV/AIDS workplace policies demonstrates that
certain South African companies have chosen to make this issue
a priority. These companies deserve recognition for their efforts, and
businesses with currently inadequate workplace policies should
strive to emulate their example.
If certain South African companies, such as Old Mutual,
can overcome the obstacles to implementing an effective
HIV/AIDS workplace policy, hope clearly exists for those South
African companies who have not yet taken action.
“The drama of AIDS threatens
not just some nations or societies, but the whole of
humanity. It knows no frontiers of geography, race, age or
social condition…Only a response that takes into account
both the medical aspect of the illness as well as the human,
cultural, ethical and religious dimensions of life can offer
complete solidarity to its victims and raise the hope that
the epidemic can be controlled and turned back.”
- Pope John Paul II in Tanzania,
A call for Corporate Action
In light of the existing obstacles to the creation
and implementation of an effective HIV/AIDS policy, certain
recommendations can be made to various constituents of the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. Accepting
the nearly universally agreed-upon maxim that every business
has an ethical responsibility to adopt an HIV/AIDS policy, the
economic interest of every South African company demands the
adoption a proactive policy.
Additionally, numerous inexpensive resources exist to
aid even the smallest business in quickly creating an
effective HIV/AIDS policy.
The plethora of resources includes assistance from
government, community, or consulting agencies.
With these two conclusions in mind, an observer would
likely feel shocked by the fact that nearly a third of all
South African businesses still have no HIV/AIDS policy
even those who do possess a policy tend to be reactive as
opposed to proactive in their response to the pandemic.
At this point, the previously mentioned obstacles of
management apathy and ignorance on the possible effects of
HIV/AIDS on their business explain what the reader may not
understand. This management apathy and ignorance can be partially
explained by the as yet largely intangible effects of the
disease on their businesses and their customer segments, as
well as the flawed belief that no particular premeditated
action is necessary to deal with HIV/AIDS within the
As always, however, all is not lost.
Personal awareness of the disease is increasing
throughout the country, and the number of HIV/AIDS policies
continues to rise. Companies such as Old Mutual set an
admirably progressive trend for other businesses to emulate.
These companies have not, in general, undertaken
incredible research efforts, but rather have simply taken a
proactive stance on HIV/AIDS and followed readily available
government and private suggestions on managing the disease in
Corporate South Africa possesses all the resources
necessary to change the disturbing trend of inadequacy in
workplace HIV/AIDS policies.
In order to remedy the current apathetic situation,
upper management must take it upon themselves to become
proactively involved in ensuring their workplace has an
effective HIV/AIDS policy.
By simply devoting a small amount of time to the study
and creation of an HIV/AIDS policy, their entire company would
reap tangible benefits. Beyond
implementing a policy, management must ensure that lower
management circulates the policy throughout all levels of the
business, and that all employees understand the ramifications
of the policy. Merely
following the current government recommendations on HIV/AIDS
policy and programs will ensure a satisfactory program for
nearly any South African company.
modern day South Africa, a company cannot afford to neglect
HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
Corporations have an ethical and fiduciary
responsibility to be, or in many cases become, proactive in
all aspects of policy implementation and creation.
If a company has an inadequate HIV/AIDS policy and
programme, the blame should land squarely on the shoulders of
the managing director. Concerned
community groups and organizations can play a vital role in
ensuring the continued creation of effective HIV/AIDS policies
by petitioning South African businesses to create proper
policies. As the
South African economy emerges from the shadow of Apartheid,
concerned community members must ensure that the effects of
HIV/AIDS do not reverse the current economic gains.
South Africa’s economic fate in the twenty-first
century depends on the willingness of corporations to
implement proactive and compassionate HIV/AIDS workplace
Global HIV/AIDS Surveillance and Survey, South
Africa, (2002): Obtained from www.unaids.org
James, “AIDS is an Economic Priority,” HR
Future (June 2002): pg 22.
Interview with Kenneth Marcus, Former Chairperson of AIDS
Foundation of South Africa, Conducted on 3 July 2002.
Vinassa, “Are You Prepared? Why Your Company Needs to do
an AIDS Audit,” People
Dynamics (Dec/Jan 2002): 32.
N. Miller, “Preparing Future Managers to Deal with
HIV/AIDS in the Workplace,” Journal
of Education for Business Vol 75 No 5 (May 2000): 260.
Bridge, “Aids Risk May Become an Accounting Item,” Business Times South Africa (4 July 2002): 1.
Fontyn, “Managing AIDS is Prime Problem for SA
Companies,” Business Day South Africa (11 July 2001): 10.
“Evaluation of Workplace Responses to HIV/AIDS in South
and Touche Human Capital Corporation (May 2002), 10.
by Ebony Consulting International, “Impact of HIV/AIDS
on SMEs,” (26 June 2002).
“AIDS Survey Summary,” People
Dynamics (July 2001): 24.
Beresford, “AAGM: The Cost of Doing Nothing,” Mail & Guardian South Africa (17 May 2002): 1.
by Ebony Consulting International, “Impact of HIV/AIDS
on SMEs,” (26 June 2002).
Urges Workers to Come Out of HIV Closet,” Business
Africa, (21 June 2002): 3.
Information Obtained from
Personal Interviews with Desiree Daniels, Corporate HIV/AIDS Director;
Lawson, HIV/AIDS Workplace Program Director;
Old Mutual. Conducted 26
Employers Urged to Help Manage AIDS,” The
Dispatch, South Africa.
Memela, “Old Mutual Helps HIV/AIDS Orphans,” BuaNews Pretoria, (21 May 2002).
of Notre Dame
of 2003 MBA
Research Intern: June-July
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
PO Box 2910