Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Anglo American plc


1.  The Company

  1.1  Anglo American plc was formed from the merger of Anglo American Corporation of South Africa and Minorco SA and established its primary listing on the London Stock Exchange in May 1999.

  1.2  Anglo American is one of the world's largest mining and natural resources groups. With its subsidiaries and joint ventures it is a world leader in gold and platinum group metals and has substantial coal, base metals, industrial minerals and forest products operations. In Southern Africa the Company has recently invested in acquiring the majority of the Zambian copper mines and announced plans for a $2 billion expansion of its platinum operations and significant new investment in zinc production in South Africa. Thus, whilst we have considerable experience of the tragic toll being taken by the HIV/AIDS epidemic it does not lessen our confidence in, or commitment to, the region.

  1.3  The Company has significant operations in over 30 countries. As at 31 December 1999, including both wholly owned companies and those in which Anglo American holds a majority interest, including the independently managed AngloGold, the Company employed some 229,000 people distributed as follows:

South Africa200,000
Rest of Africa12,000
Australia and Asia2,000
Latin America5,000
North America4,000
UK and Europe6,000

  During the first six months of 2000 the numbers attributable to the rest of Africa, Australia and the UK and Europe will have increased due to acquisitions.

2.  The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Southern Africa

  2.1  This paper concentrates upon the experience of our operating companies in combating HIV infection amongst our workforce in Southern Africa. As the Committee will be aware, Southern African countries are experiencing the world's most severe HIV/AIDS epidemic. Anonymous surveys of pregnant women at antenatal clinics provide the most consistent information about HIV prevalence levels. The following figures illustrate the severity of the problem:

    —  in Zimbabwe, antenatal HIV prevalence reached 39 per cent in Harare in 1996; the country is now experiencing high numbers of AIDS cases and deaths;

    —  Botswana has a severe epidemic with levels of 39 per cent being recorded in Gabarone in 1998;

    —  Zambia has had an HIV epidemic for longer than its neighbours to the south. Its antenatal sero-prevalence has reached a plateau at around 28 per cent. In 1997 over 50 per cent of clinical consultations and 70 per cent of hospital medical admissions were reported to be HIV-related; and

    —  South Africa's national antenatal prevalence was estimated at 22.4 per cent at the end of 1999, 0.4 per cent lower than in 1998 (but compared with less than 1 per cent in 1990); Kwa-Zulu Natal has a rate of 32.5 per cent and Mpumalanga and the Free State 28 per cent.

  2.2  Of the 34 million people believed to be living with HIV/AIDS, 70 per cent are estimated to live in sub-Saharan Africa; home to only 10 per cent of the world's population. In this region, during 1999, some 4 million people became infected with HIV and 1.8 million died from AIDS. In South Africa some companies are losing around 3 per cent of their workers each year to AIDS.

  2.3  High levels of HIV infection are found in both rural and urban contexts. Infection is not confined to particular social groups or industry sectors. The rate of infection tends to be higher amongst the less skilled sections of the workforce. In all countries the highest level of infection is found amongst young adults. This means that the workforce is disproportionately affected relative to the population as a whole. The peak age for infection amongst women in Southern Africa tends to be 8-10 years younger than amongst men. Prevalence amongst women appears to be higher than for men in the region.

3.  Socio-economic Impact

  3.1  HIV/AIDS represents an enormous human tragedy in a region which is already struggling with more than its share of social, political and economic problems. Sub-Saharan Africa starts with the lowest proportion of skilled workers of any geographical region and with a disproportionate share of the world's poorest countries. The region is least able to absorb the increased medical and social costs caused by HIV/AIDS or the loss of skilled and educated people who are already in short supply. Furthermore, the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in Africa reinforces the negative perceptions which some international investors have of the Continent, risking discouraging the private capital investment which Africa so badly needs.

  3.2  The progress of the epidemic and the reasons for its continuing spread have to be seen within the context of a series of linked social problems including: poor education; poverty and associated phenomena such as high levels of prostitution; low status of women; a weak healthcare infrastructure and a high incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases which make HIV transmission more likely.

  3.3  In Southern Africa life expectancy is falling and is projected to be only 45 by the period 2005-2010. A recent study conducted by ING Barings estimates that almost 19 per cent of all skilled workers in South Africa will have HIV by 2015. They conservatively estimate that the economic impact of the disease will be to depress the country's annual growth rate by 0.4 per cent (2006-2010) and by 0.3 per cent in 2011-2015. In Tanzania it is estimated that by 2010 the labour force will have shrunk by 30 per cent because of HIV/AIDS and that the mean age of workers will fall from 32 to 28.

  3.4  The World Bank estimates that once the disease reaches 8 per cent of the adult population per capital growth is reduced by 0.4 per cent annually and once infection rates exceed 25 per cent the cost to economic growth is at least 1 per cent per year.

  3.5  The overall economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa is likely to include:

    —  reduced active working life expectancy (according to the ILO an average of 15 years of working life will be lost per employee due to HIV/AIDS);

    —  loss of trained employees and the need to train additional manpower to compensate for impact of HIV/AIDS;

    —  lower labour productivity;

    —  reduced attraction for international investment due to increased perceived country risk;

    —  lower unemployment but exacerbation of existing skill shortages;

    —  an increase in the numbers of orphans and the disruption of traditional family support systems;

    —  lower domestic demand/economic growth;

    —  an increase in numbers living in poverty;

    —  reduced savings; and

    —  diversion of public and private sector resources into healthcare.

  3.6  At the level of individual companies in the region the impacts are:

    —  cost pressures arising from increased training; staff replacement costs; skill shortages and higher benefit payments;

    —  lower productivity inter alia through absenteeism (eg nursing relatives; attending funerals, etc) and illness;

    —  disruption from the deaths of key workers;

    —  reduced competitive advantage relative to firms located outside areas of high HIV/AIDS incidence; and

    —  increased pressures on pension funds and risk benefit schemes.

  3.7  Metropolitan, a diversified Southern African financial services group, produced estimates in 1999 which predict that for many retirement funds the cost of an average set of benefits will double by 2005 and treble by 2010. Metropolitan also believes that the indirect costs of HIV/AIDS (sickness and funeral attendance; scarcity of skilled staff; training; low productivity of new staff and low morale) will add costs equivalent to 10 per cent of the current remuneration budget up to 2005 and the equivalent of 15 per cent by 2010.

4.  Anglo American and HIV/AIDS

  4.1  Anglo American's strategic approach to HIV/AIDS has evolved over a period of 15 years. Initial efforts were focused on awareness, education and the prevention of HIV infection. With the advance of the epidemic over the ensuing 10 years, the emphasis shifted to "Minimising the impact of AIDS". This strategy relied on a twin pronged approach—"Prevent it" and "Manage it".

  4.2  In the year 2000, our strategy has further evolved to one of "Total Management Commitment" encompassing:

    —  a comprehensive HIV prevention response; and

    —  specific and measurable management plans to control and minimise the identified impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on operations.

  In the course of defining "Total Management Commitment", Anglo American has tried to identify all the elements of "best practice" in the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS. The problem is that on its own each element is a necessary but insufficient component of an effective response. The challenge will be to integrate all these elements into a comprehensive prevention and management programme.

  4.3  The testing and development of prevention and management strategies has been informed by the experience of the Company's operations in Zimbabwe, where the impact of the epidemic started several years earlier than in South Africa. Using statistical modelling techniques, the prevalence of HIV infection in the Zimbabwean workforce is estimated to be 24 per cent. Information derived from Group pension funds' data indicates that deaths due to AIDS have accounted for over 60 per cent of all deaths over the last six years. The death rate in 1999 was 8.4 per 1,000 employees, which rate has remained relatively static for employees in service over the years. The ill-health early retirement rate was 16.9 per 1,000 employees in 1999. This rate has increased by 73 per cent over the last six years because of specific incentives designed to encourage ill-health early retirement. The impact of HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality is felt hardest in the less skilled section of the workforce where the exit rate due to death or ill-health is 2.8 times that of highly skilled employees. We estimate that up to 40 per cent of lost time at the Company's Zimbabwean operations is due to the direct or indirect effects of the epidemic. To counter these losses, the concepts of multi-skilling and self directed work teams have been implemented at many of the operations. By these means it is proving possible to maintain production targets.


  4.4  The prevention of new infections is a crucial component of all workplace HIV/AIDS programmes and the most cost-effective route to reducing the impact of the epidemic. The backbone of our prevention programme historically has been made up of the following activities:

    —  HIV/AIDS education.

    —  treatment of sexually transmitted diseases—in employees and partners.

    —  distribution of free condoms.

  However, we have now identified additional elements which assist in the prevention process and these have been incorporated into an expanded and more comprehensive programme.

  4.5  The elements of this programme, with examples of how they have been put into practice in the Anglo American Group, are outlined below:

(i)  HIV/AIDS Policy and Strategy Development

  4.6  Anglo American has for many years disseminated an overall group AIDS policy. A key feature of this policy is that it does not discriminate on the basis of HIV status. The main points of the current policy:

    —  whilst applicants for employment are required to pass a standard pre-employment medical examination, this does not include an HIV test.

    —  employees who become HIV-positive will continue to be employed until they become medically unfit to work. Employees who become HIV positive are not obliged to inform management. If they choose to do so, every effort is made to protect the confidentiality of the information.

    —  information and education programmes on HIV/AIDS are made available to all employees.

    —  employees affected by the disease are given access to counselling and support services.

    —  medical assistance is provided to HIV-positive employees in accordance with their medical benefit arrangements. When an employee is no longer able to continue in employment due to ill-health the Company's general rules governing ill-health and retirement apply.

  Whilst the initial focus of the policy was towards important human rights issues, such as non-discrimination, there is now a need to include issues relevant to the sustainability of business operations.

  4.8  It is also important that the policy should reflect a shared vision between management, unions and employees. The importance of a joint responsibility for and ownership of measures designed to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic should not be under-estimated.

  4.9  The Group HIV/AIDS policy requires continual review and updating in order to take account of the progress of the epidemic, changing attitudes and the rapid advance of knowledge.

(ii)  Developing culturally appropriate prevention messages

  4.10  Talking about sexual matters is taboo in many areas of operation, not only between managers and workers, but also amongst peers. Thus, innovative ways to communicate HIV prevention and education messages have been sought. It goes without saying that understanding and impact are greatly enhanced by ensuring that messages are delivered within the cultural context and in the vernacular language of the target audience. In Southern Africa, this can be a particular challenge with its rich diversity of culture and language.

  4.11  Song and drama are popular ways of dealing with sensitive issues. Many Anglo American operations have engaged industrial theatre companies to convey HIV/AIDS education and prevention messages in this way. In other instances, employees have formed their own drama groups and devised their own scripts involving HIV/AIDS awareness themes as well as other topical issues such as crime, interpersonal violence and other public health concerns.

  4.12  HIV prevention messages have to recognise the realities in relation to polygamy and commercial sex work, whilst at the same time seeking to reduce the danger of infection. Thus, at many operations, mine-based medical services now provide primary health care to the partners and dependants of employees, including health education, counselling and the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

  4.13  Traditional healers still play an important and influential role in Southern African society and it has been recognised that working with them is an important component of an HIV prevention response. Anglo American medical staff at the Mondi Paper Company have engaged traditional healers to reinforce HIV prevention messages. They have also advised them on safe consulting practices; on how to avoid HIV infection themselves; and on avoiding transmission between clients via contaminated instruments.

(iii)  Tackling socio-economic factors

  4.14  In Southern Africa, the mining industry is by no means the only, or even the worst hit industry affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV infection rates amongst employees within the Anglo American Group are comparable to those in wider society. The HIV epidemic is exacerbated by widespread poverty, illiteracy, mobility and unstable living conditions. To the extent that Anglo American is a major employer in the region, this in itself counteracts the root socio-economic causes of the epidemic.

  4.15  One of the most important contributions Anglo American continues to make in reducing the spread of HIV in Southern Africa is through its social upliftment activities. Although many of these may not have initially been designed with the HIV epidemic as a focus, their role in addressing the social factors which contribute to the spread of the epidemic makes them a central part of the Group's HIV prevention response. Community projects supported by Anglo American include education initiatives, small business development, improved healthcare and general welfare initiatives. One of the main areas in which HIV/AIDS associated requests for funding from the Anglo American Chairman's Fund (which finances social investment projects) are expected in the future is for help with orphan-care and home-based care projects for the terminally ill.

  4.16  Given the high incidence of poverty in the region, Anglo American companies have sought innovative ways to create sustainable economic opportunities for marginalized and needy communities. By way of example, Mondi (Anglo Forest Products) sponsors the Khulanathi Woodlots project which provides men and women from rural communities along the coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal with opportunities to grow commercial woodlots with advice and assistance from Mondi. The Company secures an additional source of wood fibre through an agreement to buy back timber at commercial prices when the trees are harvested. To date this scheme has generated some 2,854 growers, with 5,904 hectares of land under trees.

  4.17  Other income generating projects undertaken by Group companies assist women in impoverished communities, who might otherwise be lured into prostitution to generate income. Examples include the leasing or purchase of sewing machines and the subsequent purchase of products from them such as curtains, uniforms and protective clothing. One mine has assisted local women to set up a bakery which then supplies its canteen.

(iv)  Working with communities and establishing partnerships

  4.18  A key lesson which has been learned from Anglo American's HIV work is that effective HIV/AIDS prevention programmes need to move beyond the workplace into surrounding communities. This primarily involves seeking to build partnerships with other significant organisations and individuals in the community.

  4.19  International experience has shown that prevention interventions, which specifically target individuals engaged in high-risk behaviour, are the most cost-effective way to curb the spread of the HIV epidemic. Sex worker peer education programmes illustrate what can be achieved through a partnership approach to HIV/AIDS prevention. These programmes explicitly aim to reach both sexual partners and to build support networks for vulnerable women. In a model developed by the University of Zimbabwe, peer educators work through a range of one-to-one motivational sessions and community meetings. They also work at "shebeens" (informal bars), truck stops and other "hot spots". Their aim is to change key sexual behaviour, including condom use and attitudes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) amongst women at high risk and their clients. By building mutual support networks, sex workers become able to counteract their clients' disproportionate power. The programmes are run through AIDS Committees, which include diverse representation from government, the private sector and local communities. Key indicators of performance (such as number of meetings held, number of condoms distributed) are monitored weekly.

  4.20  Anglo Coal initiated such a project in the Kriel district of Mpumalanga, which, because of its success, is now being extended to other districts. Anglo Coal recently received a Business Excellence award from the UNAIDS Global Business Council on HIV/AIDS, recognising in particular its long-standing involvement with local communities.

  4.21  AngloGold is a joint venture partner in the Kopano and Mothusimpilo projects serving the local communities around the gold-mining towns of Welkom and Carletonville. These projects aim to reduce the incidence of STDs, including HIV. They are managed by an alliance of management trade unions, representatives of the government health service and grassroots community organisations, including commercial sex workers and residents of formal and informal squatter settlements. The design of the projects importantly includes baseline surveys of HIV prevalence and periodic monitoring of key outcome indicators.

(v)  Sustaining awareness, education and prevention

  4.22  Most HIV prevention programmes traditionally begin with raising awareness about HIV transmission and HIV disease. Surveys conducted in a number of Anglo American companies have shown a dramatic rise in employee knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Regrettably, there has been a less dramatic change in attitudes to those already infected as well as reported behaviour change and awareness of personal risk.

  4.23  Peer education programmes are important in sustaining awareness since employees and their communities are more likely to engage and trust their peers. There is still a reluctance amongst persons already infected with HIV to become involved in these programmes, although their participation is widely recognised as a powerful way to communicate the risks and influence attitudes and behaviour.

  4.24  It is an ongoing struggle to sustain prevention programmes. Anglo American has begun to address this by attempting to integrate prevention efforts into management and supervisory courses, induction courses, HR courses, safety training, fitness and well-being programmes, and social events such as soccer matches.

  4.25  The Company attaches importance to the involvement of the workforce and its leaders. Unfortunately, employee representatives have sometimes been slow to become involved, either as partners with employers or in their own right. Anglo American is seeking to continue to encourage employees and unions to share, or take the lead, in prevention programmes and to initiate their own programmes.

(vi)  Challenging denial and stigma

  4.26  Overcoming denial is a prerequisite for achieving behaviour change. The active support of senior management for HIV prevention activities is very helpful in challenging denial about the epidemic and encouraging prevention initiatives. The prevention and management of HIV/AIDS must be a regular topic at senior management meetings and we believe individual managers should be evaluated in part on how well they have facilitated HIV prevention efforts.

  4.27  HIV prevalence studies are a powerful means of challenging both management and employee denial of the extent of the epidemic. Ethically acceptable methods of anonymously surveying the workforce (by means of sputum testing) are now tried and tested. Such prevalence studies are invariably conducted by independent consultants, with the consent of both management and unions. An important part of the process is to provide access to separate confidential testing and counselling for those employees who wish to establish their HIV status independently.

  4.28  Anglo American companies which have carried out these surveys confirm that they offer a unique opportunity for engaging stakeholders and for promoting dialogue on HIV/AIDS prevention. The information obtained is invaluable in helping management to judge the effectiveness of prevention strategies and to formulate appropriate targets and benchmarks for the future.

  4.29  A further approach to combating denial is to restructure employee benefits so as to encourage those with HIV infection to seek early treatment and for those with debilitating disease to apply for ill-health early retirement benefits. In Zimbabwe, for example, Anglo American has managed to make changes to employee benefits so that the discrepancy between death-in-service and ill-health retirement has been narrowed. This enables more HIV positive employees to access the early retirement option so that they can spend time with their families prior to death.

(vii)  Linking care to prevention

  4.30  Primary health care clinics at many Company operations are used to disseminate HIV prevention messages. For example, clinic staff at Mondi's Richards Bay facility have produced a booklet entitled "Living with the Consequences" which explains how HIV is transmitted. It discusses the option of HIV testing as well as offering counselling on HIV and financial issues; it also places the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the context of other diseases rather than focusing purely on sexual behaviour. This publication has been widely distributed outside the Company by the Professional Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

  4.31  Care and support programmes have a positive impact on prevention initiatives. If colleagues are treated sympathetically, there is likely to be greater receptivity to prevention messages. Such programmes send a positive message to employees about the concern of the company for the human tragedy of AIDS.

  4.32  AngloGold has developed a pilot rural health care initiative, which aims to expand the linkages between prevention and care where there is a geographical separation of employees and their families. The programme has been observed positively by organised labour and government. Should the pilot succeed, the intention would be to extend the programme to other rural areas with sufficient numbers of dependant families.

  4.33  Aurum Health Research has developed a landmark programme for AngloGold which aims to keep HIV positive miners healthy and productive for as long as possible. The programme is designed to prevent the opportunistic infections that account for a great deal of morbidity and mortality amongst employees infected with HIV. Trained peer counsellors, who themselves are living with AIDS, recruit HIV-positive miners into the programme. An overwhelming 98 per cent of those recruited express a desire to go to the clinic for treatment. Participants believe that the fact that the counsellors and recruiters to the clinic are themselves living with HIV/AIDS has contributed to this success.

(viii)  Rigorous scientific analysis

  4.34  A rational response to the HIV epidemic should be grounded in scientific research, proper planning and rigorously evaluated interventions.

  4.35  Anglo American has actively contributed towards HIV research programmes since 1987. Most of these have been carried out in collaboration with well-established international research partners. Early efforts were directed towards exploring treatment options that were designed to block the virus from entering cells in the immune system. In conjunction with the Center for Blood Research at Harvard Medical School and the John Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore, Anglo American has funded some US $6 million towards research, which has developed recombinant transmembrane CD4 molecules that block the entry of HIV into lymphocytes. Although the clinical application of this technology remains elusive, researchers at John Hopkins remain optimistic that a meaningful contribution towards arresting HIV infection is possible.

  4.36  The combination of Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV infection has devastating consequences in developing countries. The medical services of AngloGold have a long history of research into occupational health, particularly occupational lung disease and TB. Recently AngloGold has created and funded an independent, medical research body, Aurum Health Research, which has achieved a leading position in clinical research into TB and HIV/AIDS. Important research areas include primary HIV prevention, HIV surveillance, TB control programmes, multi-drug resistant TB, prevention of HIV and TB morbidity, HIV vaccines and HIV drug therapy. International partners include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Health Organisation, John Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Much of the research has been published in peer-reviewed international medical journals. To date, AngloGold has contributed over £1 million towards this initiative. The results in terms of contributing towards the health of mineworkers, establishing effective TB control programmes, and managing HIV and TB in surrounding communities have been most encouraging.

  4.37  In the final analysis, it is now clear that an effective and broadly applicable response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa must include, as a high priority, the development of a vaccine specific to the strains of HIV which are prevalent in the area. Anglo American, through Aurum Health Research, is participating in a vaccine initiative led by the Johannesburg HIV vaccine consortium.


  4.38  Whilst prevention efforts must continue, the rapid advance of the epidemic dictates that increasing attention must be devoted to managing its commercial impact. Anglo American has developed guidelines for Group companies on how this should be done. These are based on the premise that to manage a problem it first has to be quantified and only then can appropriate responses be developed.

(a)  Impact assessment

  4.39  In order to quantify the size and extent of the problem it is essential to carry out an impact assessment. This has three major components as follows:

Estimation of HIV prevalence

  4.40  The first step is to estimate what percentage of the workforce is HIV-positive. This varies from operation to operation and will depend on factors such as staff ages, gender, whether they reside with their families, their socio-economic status and whether the company is situated in a high, medium, or low prevalence area. The most accurate way of estimating HIV infection levels is to carry out an unlinked, anonymous sero-prevalence survey by collecting blood or saliva samples from a statistically representative sample of the workforce and then testing the samples for HIV. A number of companies within the Group have carried out such surveys, but it is not a practical proposition for every company either for logistical reasons or because it is not always acceptable to employees and/or their unions. Other Group companies have estimated HIV prevalence in their workforce by using a statistical model. Information on the workforce is fed into the model, which then provides a reasonably accurate estimate of HIV prevalence, together with an estimate of the number of employees who are likely to develop AIDS each year.

Impact on benefit schemes

  4.41  The next phase of an impact study is to look at benefit schemes—medical, retirement, disability, death and funeral. HIV/AIDS will increase the cost of providing many of these benefits. If a company has a reasonable idea of the proportion of its employees who are HIV-positive, then it is possible to estimate the additional costs which will be incurred.

Impact on productivity

  4.42  Last, but not least, companies are asked to consider to what extent HIV/AIDS will impact on their productivity. What are key operations and which positions are critical to maintaining these operations? How will these operations continue when employees become sick and die? How will the company cope with increasing levels of absenteeism, not only as a result of illness, but also from employees attending funerals, which generally require them to take between two and five days off work to travel to the rural areas. What will be the cost of replacing employees and what effect will frequent bereavements have on employee morale?

(b)  Appropriate responses

  4.43  The model adopted by Anglo American requires that once the impact assessment has been completed appropriate responses must then be developed. The steps in this process are outlined below:

Policies and procedures

  4.44  The first step is the development and implementation of an AIDS policy. Anglo American has had a Group policy for many years as described earlier in this document. Of necessity it is a statement of basic principles, but each company has been asked to develop these principles into a more definitive document appropriate to its own circumstances. The AIDS policy provides an invaluable framework for guiding the companies' response to the impact of the epidemic and must be communicated to everyone in the company. Its importance lies in preventing discriminatory practices occurring and ensuring that both the company and employee are aware of the way in which HIV+ employees will be managed.

Treatment and care

  4.45  Finding ways of providing appropriate treatment and care for employees who are HIV+ is becoming increasingly important as more employees become sick. This is particularly so in the mining companies where full (and free) medical care through mine clinics and hospitals is provided for the less skilled members of the workforce. AngloGold have instituted a well-being programme for HIV positive employees based on antibiotic therapy to prevent opportunistic infection. Anglo American is currently investigating a pilot project, in conjunction with Aurum Health Research and Glaxo Wellcome and other major pharmaceutical manufacturers, to evaluate the practicalities, costs and benefits of providing antiretroviral treatment for employees. More senior personnel who belong to contributory medical insurance schemes already have access to such treatment.

  4.46  Another consideration and concern for the mining companies within the Group is that healthcare facilities are often inadequate in the areas to which many mineworkers will return when they are no longer able to work. AngloGold is currently looking at how this problem can be overcome and whether training of family members and community personnel in home-based care will help to alleviate the problem.

Restructure benefit schemes

  4.47  The next step is to look at the results of the impact assessment on benefit schemes and to decide which benefits it will still be possible to provide, whether some schemes must be restructured or whether limits must be placed on certain benefits. Changing benefits must be negotiated with employees and their representatives. Most companies within the Group have completed this phase and have restructured their benefit schemes or have capped certain benefits.

Performance management

  4.48  Managers need to be alert to signs that an employee's productivity is slipping. As well as reduction in output, factors such as absenteeism, time keeping, or a change in demeanour and general well-being, can indicate that an employee is struggling to cope with a positive HIV diagnosis or related illness.

  4.49  A good performance management system ensures that once an employee becomes too sick to carry out their duties, alternative arrangements can be discussed. These include the possibility of alternative employment, some changes to the employee's job description or, failing either of these, ill-health early retirement. Companies are encouraged to ensure that such discussions are held timeously and that both the employer and employee are party to any decisions taken.

Develop plans for replacements

  4.50  With regard to losses in the labour force, Anglo American companies have identified a number of ways by which they will replace employees who become too sick to work. There are various options including pool gangs, mechanisation, multi-skilling, multi-tasking and additional training. Clearly, long-term planning is of crucial importance in preparing for contingencies.

Involve the unions

  4.51  Because many of the issues associated with HIV/AIDS are union matters as much as they are management ones, companies have been encouraged to develop open and honest discussions with union representatives to ensure that both sides understand the ramifications of the epidemic and are able to plan effectively for the impacts.

Comply with legislation

  4.52  Most of the countries in Southern Africa have legislation, which guides employer-employee relationships including those relating to HIV/AIDS. All companies within the Group are aware of the need to ensure that their policies and procedures comply with relevant civil and labour legislation.

Monitor the epidemic

  4.53  Although many companies within the Anglo American group have already taken pre-emptive steps to manage the impact of the epidemic on their operations, progress in this regard will now be monitored on an annual basis by means of a centralised reporting system which requires each company to report on statistics such as number of deaths and ill health retirements and changes to costs associated with benefit schemes.

  4.54  The challenge for companies within the Group is to do whatever is necessary to minimize the impact of the epidemic on their operations whilst at the same time providing the empathy and compassion that is necessary to assist those employees who are HIV+.


  5.1  The scale of the unfolding HIV/AIDS tragedy in Southern Africa is distressing and sobering. The human cost is substantial. The private sector must play its part in preventing infections and in the support of those who have been infected. We must also seek to ensure that livelihoods remain for those who will survive and come through this tragic chapter. Anglo American believes that its companies have evolved much valuable best practice and are striving to do more.

  5.2  Whilst our prevention efforts may not have succeeded in arresting the progress of the epidemic, we remain determined to make an impact in preventing new infections. The great majority of employees are not infected with HIV, so there is still plenty of scope for prevention work. The possibility of developing an AIDS vaccine needs to be pursued with vigour and Anglo American, through its medical research initiatives will be actively involved in early clinical trials.

  5.3  We need to renew our efforts in caring for those who are living with HIV or who have become AIDS sick. There are promising developments in the field of drug treatment for HIV infection and AIDS. Anglo American will actively explore ways and means to make this treatment accessible, affordable and effective.

  5.4  In 15 years of experience of dealing with HIV/AIDS, we know that the epidemic is manageable in the workplace and that our businesses will remain viable and profitable. Anglo American will continue to invest in Southern Africa and contribute to the emerging economies of the region.

Anglo American plc

16 June 2000

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