The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is now expected to release guidelines on AIDS reporting as early as next year, which will mean listed companies will have to include the measures they are taking to deal with the disease alongside their financial statements.
A taskforce, put together by the JSE with input from the SAICA, is believed to be looking at the issue from a listings requirement point of view. If it comes into force, South Africa will be the first country to insist on AIDS reporting.Early this year, Graham Terry, vice-president and executive director of the SAICA told Accountancy Age: ‘Our view is that any annual report should include some assessment of the risk [of AIDS].’
At the same time some of South Africa’s biggest companies, with dual listings in South Africa and in London, are already taking steps to address the problem.
The world’s biggest gold producer, Anglo American, has already launched an initiative to provide anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS as a benefit through medical aid schemes.
Financial services group Old Mutual is to expand its medical programme to offer the drug to 600 members of its staff believed to be infected with HIV/AIDS, while De Beers, the diamond-mining giant, says it will pay for 90% of the cost of AIDS medication for its 11,000 employees and their spouses.
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