Examination of Witnesses (Questions 340
THURSDAY 29 JUNE 2000
340. Can I bring you on to the subject of female
condoms in the workplace. We saw in Carletonville the work that
you were doing, amongst others, with prostitutes. Are female condoms
generally available for either commercial sex workers or, indeed,
for partners of your workforce or your workforce if they are female?
(Ms Crisp) Generally speaking no, not in our operations.
Primarily this is because if you look at the mines, for example,
the number of female employees is very small compared to the number
of males. In the projects that we have been involved in which
are community based, like the Carletonville project, like the
Mpumalanga project I do not know if you had an opportunity
to see what was happening in Mpumalanga but the one project that
we started there with one of our coal mines was taken up by the
Department of Health and there are now 26 similar projects throughout
the Province. They are using female condoms to a very great extent
for the women in the community. We are not making them available
in the workplace because there is not the demand for them because
there are not the women there but we are certainly supporting
their use with these community based projects.
341. In Carletonville the sex workers there
told us that they did ask for female condoms but were not given
them, is that right?
(Ms Crisp) I cannot comment on that. That is certainly
not something I have heard about. I would have to check that with
the director of the project.
342. If it is effective that is obviously a
useful source of prevention.
(Ms Crisp) Absolutely.
(Dr Brink) If they were not available that would be
a huge deficiency which needs correction. The previous question
talked about the vulnerability of women and women's rights. Certainly
the new Government in South Africa has put women's rights very,
very high on the agenda and I think that is a huge contribution
to dealing with this epidemic. The most vulnerable age group is
girls between the age of 15 and 20 and that really is where we
have to focus a huge amount of effort to try to help that.
(Ms Junghae) Over the years we have been providing
free condoms using non-governmental organisations and people who
distribute them locally in most of the operations. We put the
condoms in the ladies' rooms and in the gentlemen's rooms and
we find the condoms usually are the male condoms but they disappear
most. The rate at which we have to get more supplies for the women
is higher than for the men. Even in the use of the male condoms
we find that our women are more aware and they are the ones who
are taking them for their families, for their daughters, for their
children, for their spouses. In Botswana, for example, where we
were doing the Champion training over the last month, the women
Champions were telling us that they take these condoms and put
them in their briefcases for their men because they know that
there is a risk of bringing the infection back home. Most of the
countriesGhana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwehave
come back to us after the Champion training and they are telling
us that this was the first time some of them were hearing about
female condoms. Demand is very high and they are asking us whether
we can get sources to get the condoms distributed.
344. We have already heard what MTV does in
its business spreading the message about HIV and AIDS, do you
know if other companies and yourselves are involved in preventive
work with the customers or even with suppliers?
(Mr Wheeler) Shall I comment from the Bank's perspective?
Our overall education programme is relatively all encompassing.
I will go through each of the different stakeholders, if you like,
in terms of the business community we work with. We initially
thought we should just go and talk to our staff but when we talked
about that we found their families were very interested. We thought
how could we access the community and the family. In certain instances
family members will attend some workshops and communication sessions
that we have on this. We have also developed media such that they
can actually take home fliers, presentations, leaflets, brochures
which talk about it and share it with the family. At the same
time clearly there is a business opportunity to a certain extent
in terms of your participation in the community if you are actually
able to provide a benefit to that community. What we have done
is taken the same information both to local business groups and
customers voluntarily and if they want to have the same information
they can duplicate it, take our name off and put their own name
on, use it to communicate within their own workforce and so forth,
we encourage that. At a political level similarly we go along
and are happy to provide advice on what we have done. We hand
over videos, some of it is quite sophisticated, CDs, discs, presentations.
A number of companies like Anglo, ESCOM and so forth are doing
a similar thing.
(Ms Crisp) We have a very different customer base.
We are selling metals on a metal exchange, we do not have customers.
345. You have business suppliers and whatever.
(Ms Crisp) Suppliers. Logistically it is very difficult.
We do not have a programme to address HIV and AIDS with our suppliers
simply because they are so numerous and generally we do not have
contact with them. If you are at a mine in Carletonville you pick
up the phone and phone the supplier in Johannesburg, a truck arrives
and it drops off whatever it is and disappears again. It is an
interesting point you raise but it is something we have not done
and there are constraints.
(Dr Brink) I think our effort there recently reinvigorated
the Business Council on AIDS in South Africa. To the extent that
becomes a source of information for all businesses, particularly
small businesses, the message can get through there as to what
people should be doing about this epidemic. Clem Sunter, who I
think you all know of, is very much involved there. His most recent
book with Alan Whiteside specifically tries to address these problems
and show people what to do.
(Ms Franklin) From MTV's point of view our customers
are our audience which, as I have said, we do work with. Our suppliers
are people like our cable operators who broadcast us. For example,
we have made a half hour series of documentaries called Staying
Alive. The first one we made is headed by George Michael.
We have taken this programme looking at HIV and AIDS around the
world for young people and we have actually made it rights free
and we have made it available to our suppliers and any broadcaster
around the world to air. We have issued this challenge on several
occasions. We are trying to get our media peers involved who our
customers, suppliers, at every opportunity that we can by giving
away our material that we have made to broadcasters so that we
can spread the message. Again, in advocacy terms we talk at associations
like the International Live Music Conferences where we talk to
music concert organisers to encourage them to put red ribbons
on their artists or red ribbons in their programmes so that young
people can pick them up and read them.
346. Thank you. We have mentioned the inter-relationship
with unions and worker representatives when you were testing the
workers. In general, are trade unions and worker representatives
involved in the formulation of HIV and AIDS policies in your businesses
(Mr Wheeler) Yes.
(Ms Crisp) Certainly in the mining industry as early
as 1993 the Chamber of Mines of South Africa signed an agreement
with all the unions on HIV and AIDS which was a standard non-discriminatory
policy. What we have done over the years is we have made every
effort to involve the unions in our peer education programmes
so that we have shop stewards who are peer educators and we see
them as key players in the whole process.
347. And the shop stewards and union representatives
are similarly committed to these policies, they take them very
seriously? We have heard about denial.
(Mr Wheeler) They tend to be the ones who will object.
They are very vociferous if you tend to have a policy which is
not transparent and non-discriminatory.
348. If I can just quote briefly some evidence
we have heard. "Senior figures in multi-national organisations
often have little grasp of the risks and of the way the disease
is transmitted. In extreme cases, this can lead to totally biased
unrealistic views that can have major negative impacts on investment
decisions." To what extent are senior management of companies,
both in Africa and in international headquarters in the developed
world, fully aware of the issues surrounding the matters of HIV
(Ms Crisp) If I could start off. Part of our programme
has been not just educating people about how they could be infected
but also about how they could be affected. A major target group
in that regard is our managers. We have had extensive workshops
349. What about senior managers?
(Ms Crisp) Absolutely, senior, executives. We have
produced in the last three and a half years a monthly newsletter
which goes out to everyone in all of our companies, chief executives
down, which addresses various issues of the epidemic. We have
organised workshops for them, we have done presentations for the
executives of all the companies because for us it is critical
that those managers understand what the issues are.
350. I think what we are really trying to get
to is the people making the decisions in the headquarters of companies,
be they in London or in Johannesburg or wherever they might be.
(Ms Franklin) I think from the multi-national companies
based in London and New York it is very important to have the
support of the senior management. One of the ways to do that is
to actually take the senior management who may not really understand
the epidemic and take them, like you have been, on field trips.
Once they have the ability to see what is happening first hand
they are much more inclined to support policies that you might
want to put in place.
351. Is that happening? Where is Standard Chartered
(Mr Wheeler) It is headquartered in London.
352. I thought it was. Who is the Chairman?
(Mr Wheeler) Sir Patrick Gillam.
353. Does he know about this?
(Mr Wheeler) He does. He knows the Chairman of this
Committee. I went to see Sir Patrick a couple of weeks ago after
receiving the invitation because it is something that is close
to his heart and the way it works in our organisation is if there
is something that has a political dimension I go and see the Chairman
and ask him "should we appear, should we participate, what
is your view?" He first of all asked me who is the Chairman
and after that I am here. We went through it. Yes, he is very
aware. He knows I am here today and I will be seeing him next
week and giving him an update. The Chief Executive, Rana Talwar
is the nominated member on the Business Council on HIV and AIDS,
one of approximately 15 companies that have recognised that there
is something we can do together internationally in terms of influence.
To be fair, yes, the most senior managers and directors are aware.
Is there broad awareness across the organisation? Probably not.
I would say it is probably better than in many organisations because
we largely operate in emerging markets.
354. It is nice to know the old boys network
still lasts in New Labour's Britain.
(Dr Brink) What we have in our company is an AIDS
Policy and Strategy Committee that is drawn from the top management
at the centre. That Committee, on an ongoing basis, looks at the
evolution of the epidemic and how we are coping with it. That
Committee requires of all managers out there to feed back. We
give information to them, they have to feed back to us. Put very
simply, the sorts of questions that could be asked are "How
much HIV/AIDS have you got at your company? What will the impact
of that be on your operations? What are you doing about it?"
All managers are held accountable for that. That comes from the
355. Because of your presence in major markets
and that of Standard Chartered I am very encouraged by what you
(Ms Franklin) The Global Business Council's membership
is made up of the CEOs specifically. We do require that on an
annual basis the CEOs attend the meetings so that they do understand
what is going on on a global basis.
(Mr Cochrane) If I can just add, GBC has been very,
very strong in making sure that the educational programmes, the
outreach programmes, a whole host of programmes, are well in place
in those companies. Part of its mission is to make sure that they
can broadcast this to other companies and get them involved as
356. Thank you. I have one last question. You
mentioned migrant workers earlier and I think we have dealt with
that but are there any other employment practices which can, in
fact, contribute to the spread of HIV and AIDS that you have come
across? If not, that is fine.
(Mr Cochrane) No.
357. We identified migrant workers. We will
leave it there.
(Mr Wheeler) Not within our organisation but regionally,
of course, war is a very bad factor.
358. I hope that is not an employment practice.
(Mr Wheeler) That is what I am saying. If you are
looking at migrant workers in terms of one area, I am sure you
have picked up other things that do go on that have a major impact.
359. Can I take that a little bit further. It
seems to me that if you are wanting to resist the spread of the
virus, the incidence, it is about creating stable communities,
stable relationships. The practice of having migrant workers is
just antagonistic to that, is it not? I know there are local cultural
things but if we are serious about this surely that would be one
effective way of reducing the incidence of HIV, diminishing the
amount of migrant workers?
(Dr Brink) I think that we must absolutely recognise
that. In our policies we are deliberately doing everything we
can to try to encourage and stabilise family units to the extent
that where migrant workers used to be accommodated in hostels,
now every employee has the opportunity of living out and living
with family and receiving an allowance rather than saying "you
must live in the hostel". A lot of steps have been put in
place to counteract the negative influence of migrant workers.
We fully recognise that we are not going to be able to get rid
of them overnight for all the reasons that I explained earlier
but we can certainly make progress. Again, if you see that overall
in terms of the advancing HIV epidemic, I think the very fact
of the employment opportunities we are offering in the workplace
that people are exposed to, that in itself does, in fact, quite
the opposite from exacerbating the epidemic, it is actually slowing
the epidemic down. We would like to think that our employment
contribution is, in fact, a big contributor to halting the progress
of the epidemic.
(Ms Crisp) I think that is particularly true if you
bear in mind that from our point of view a lot of our migrant
workers come from Lesotho and from Mozambique and it is the money
that they earn in South Africa as migrant workers that maintains
a certain stability within their communities back in those countries.
Yes, it is a problem but there are also problems if we do away
with it in its entirety. I would also like to pass on to you a
comment that was made to me when we had a conference about five
years ago that was organised by the World Bank for the mining
groups in the SADAC countries. As always there was a lot of debate
about migrant labour in the hostels in South Africa and the General
Secretary of the Mineworkers' Union of Zambia was there and after
a couple of hours of this discussion he suddenly said "Well,
I am having difficulty understanding why everybody is talking
about migrant labour. In Zambia we have a 25-30 per cent level
of infection amongst our mineworkers and we have no migrant labour.
Our workers have always lived with their families, they are not
migrants, so I am not sure what all this discussion is about".
I found that quite interesting at the time and I pass that on.