Corporate Responsibility Report 2007

Corporate Responsibility Report 2007

HIV/AIDS

Key features

  • HIV prevalence levels among employees at Impala are believed to be rising, although they are still lower than those in surrounding communities
  • Some 6,800 HIV tests were conducted at company facilities during the year
  • 2,400 people (employees and dependants) participated in the company’s wellness programme
  • Antiretroviral treatment (ART) is available to all employees or dependants through the Impala Medical Plan (IMP) or through external medical schemes
  • 396 people receive ART through company health facilities
  • Medical costs incurred related to HIV/AIDS amounted to some R18 million at Impala Rustenburg in FY2007

Policy and governance

HIV/AIDS remains a major area of concern in southern Africa and programmes to address this pandemic are in place at all our operations. Programmes developed and implemented at our operations in Rustenburg and Springs are progressively being extended to other areas within the group.

Agreements are in place with major unions in respect of the management of HIV/AIDS at the South African operations, and committees defined in terms of these agreements have been active for some years. There is some cause for concern that, during FY2007, the committee at our Rustenburg operations has not been functioning as well as it has in the past, as a number of former union representatives with extensive experience in this field have moved on to other areas. This is an area of focus for FY2008.

Performance during FY2007

Total projected costs of
HIV/AIDS at Impala’s
Rustenburg operations* (Rm)

Total projected costs ofHIV/AIDS at Impala’s Rustenburg operations* (Rm)

HIV/AIDS prevalence levels

While Implats provides treatment programmes through its own medical facilities and in-house medical scheme, employees may choose to receive treatment through external medical schemes which do not report statistics to the company, or through government-provided systems. Consequently, HIV/AIDS prevalence levels and other statistics related to the impact of the virus are not known with absolute certainty. Nonetheless, the company has a great deal of information at its disposal to enable it to determine the risk presented by the infection, and has developed programmes to mitigate this risk. Implats has continued to engage leading external consultants to project the impact of the disease on its employees and its cost base.

Testing of employees undertaken on a voluntary basis in the past has indicated prevalence levels of around 16% at our Rustenburg and Springs operations, and of around 20% at the Zimplats operations. However, this is believed to have risen to around 19% in the Rustenburg area during the past year, based on limited pre-operative testing at Impala Medical Services.

Based on publicly available information (Department of Health), it is estimated that prevalence levels in the general adult population in areas of primary operations are as follows: Impala Rustenburg: North West Province – 29%; Impala Springs: Gauteng Province – 33%; Marula: Limpopo Province – 20%; Zimplats and Mimosa: Zimbabwe – 19%.

The rising trend at Impala Rustenburg appears to be a consequence of two primary factors:

  • a higher-than-normal staff turnover level experienced at the operations during the year. In addition, recruitment programmes arising from the company’s transference to owner-mining at Marula and various expansion projects have meant that the company is drawing new employees from communities that have historically had a higher HIV/AIDS prevalence level than that of the company’s own workforce. In addition, the recruitment of more women –who are an at-risk group within the broader population – may have an impact on the overall prevalence levels; and
  • it appears that even existing employees may be engaging in higher risk sexual behaviour with the shift in focus from the company’s prevention campaign to that of living positively with AIDS, and the provision of ART over the past four years.

These are both areas of significant concern to the company and are being addressed by a refocus on prevention and education campaigns going forward.

Education

Of particular importance is the revitalisation of education campaigns and the running of separate streams of communication for HIV-positive and HIV-negative employees. The focus during the past two years on trying to get HIV-positive employees to prevent or delay the progression of their illness with treatment, particularly through the use of HIV-positive peer educators, has proved effective. It has become apparent, however, that education programmes for HIV-negative employees must be reinforced so as to emphasise the importance of maintaining their negative status, especially given the greater number of new entrants into the organisation.

Condoms and femidoms are freely available to employees and local communities and it is estimated that more than 844,000 were distributed by the group during the year. A high priority continues to be placed on the counselling and treatment of employees and their partners presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Wellness programmes

A key element of the Implats group programmes is the availability and, indeed, the active encouragement of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) at all of the company’s operations. In total, some 6,800 rapid voluntary and diagnostic tests were undertaken in FY2007 (FY2006: 6,600) by the company during the year, with 883 new cases of HIV diagnosed. VCT was introduced at both Mimosa and Marula during the year.

Employees who are HIV-positive are encouraged to participate in the wellness programmes available through the company, or through the various medical aid schemes. As at the end of FY2007, 2,438 people were enrolled in the wellness programmes run at the company’s health facilities. (FY2006: 2,350)

The wellness programmes include the provision of ART to employees and their dependants through the our Medical Plan or other medical schemes. In FY2007, 396 people received ART through the company’s facilities (FY2006: 176). This is a significant increase in uptake, with 247 new patients starting ART in FY2007 following education programmes on the benefits of ART. The provision of ART started at Marula and Zimplats during the year.

Impact of HIV/AIDS

Number of employees on
ART through company
facilities

Number of employees on ART through company facilities

Based on known HIV-positive cases, the company is aware of 468 employees who left the services of the group as a result of AIDS or AIDS-related illness during FY2007 (FY2006: 408 employees): of these 105 employees died in service while 363 employees left the group through a formal medical separation process. This process is one that is frequently initiated by the employee and ensures that the employee returns to the care of his or her family.

External consultants were contracted to project the impact of HIV/AIDS on employees and the company, and developed a model of cost forecasts that took into account the cost of the provision of health care, medical cost, sick leave, the cost of declines in productivity, training and replacement. In terms of this model, costs are expected to peak in FY2010, which is the projected peak of the epidemic.

The total cost to the group of the HIV/AIDS education and medical programme for employees is approximately R18.5 million.

HIV/AIDS statistics FY2007
 HIV tests New HIV-positive cases Number on wellness programmesNumber receiving ARTKnown deathsMedical separations
Impala Rustenburg6,1938832,34136399357
Impala Springs67436522
Marula4676824441
Mimosa2542410N/A3
Zimplats531123148N/A
Group6,8059702,448396113363

Community programmes

Implats has applied the lessons learnt on internal programmes and within its facilities, to assist local and labour-sending communities with HIV/AIDS-related projects (in section on socio-economic development).

Objectives for FY2008

Key objectives for FY2008 are:

  • to revitalise the HIV/AIDS committees across our group, with a focus on joint management/union recommitment to the process;
  • to reaffirm the importance of prevention as a discrete programme and at the same time, to continue with the treatment and positive living programmes; and
  • to increase the uptake of ART.

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited – Corporate Responsibility Report 2007