Since 2006 our South African coal operations have provided more than R35 million to fund renovation or construction of 7 hospitals and clinics for the people of Mpumalanga where our operations are located. These community health initiatives were constructed in partnership with non-government organisation Re-Action! and the Mpumalanga Department of Health & Social Development which caters for the local communities in the area and also the surrounding farms. The projects are designed so that each of the clinics eventually transitions to full control by the department.
A key focus of the clinics’ work is HIV/AIDS, a disease which has a major impact on our workforce. The clinics provide testing, counselling and treatment. Our HIV intervention strategy aims to have every GX worker know their HIV status, and to seek treatment if they are infected.
We have established a programme to provide support to HIV-positive employees spearheaded by a steering committee involving employee representatives, department representatives, the local community and local government. The programme has been hugely successful, with more than 92% of our workforce having been tested. Of our employees who tested positive, 67% are registered into treatment.
There are ongoing efforts to bring the others into the fold. Wellness Champions – employees who dedicate their own time to assisting with wellness promotion – undertake broader health promotion activities in the workplace such as raising awareness by putting up posters, distributing flyers and generally providing support to their colleagues. Wellness Advocates are HIV-positive individuals who have decided to make their status known to their colleagues to help de-stigmatise the disease and encourage more people to be tested and treated.
Our approach is in line with the South African Chamber of Mines’ 2007 Sustainability and Transformation Report which urged that all mining industry employees should know their HIV status and that this knowledge should be applied to practise prevention and to enter wellness treatment programmes.