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Media Release: SANParks commemorates International World AIDS Day

30 November 2006

1 December 2006

South African National Parks (SANParks) joins the enlightened world in giving a voice to the fight against HIV & AIDS, and will once again participate in the World AIDS Day commemorative celebrations at the SANParks head office in Groenkloof, east of Pretoria.

This is part of the organisation’s Employee Wellness Programme to educate employees and provide workplace support for those infected and affected by the pandemic. It is also an effort to support government in the fight against HIV & AIDS as well as address related workplace problems as detailed in the HIV & AIDS Technical Assistance Guidelines which was launched by the Commission for Employment Equity and the Department of Labour in May 2003.

The day’s activities start at 08h30 with a 3km walk / run around the block on the George Storra; Leyds and Queen Wilhelmina roads while the rest of the employees will join the walkers and runners at the 2,5km mark for a march to the SANParks offices led by a brass band.

Dr David Mabunda, Chief Executive of SANParks will give an address emphasising management’s commitment to this initiative as well as continued support of similar employee wellness activities. Motivational speeches by people living with AIDS have been lined up to sensitise people on the subject.

Dr Connie Kganakga, Chief Director; HIV & AIDS, Department of Social Development is the keynote speaker for the day. The highlight of the day’s activities is a presentation of donated goods to Tateni Home Care, a Mamelodi based NGO which provides home-based care to the chronically and terminally ill as well as support to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.

Dr Mabunda said the organisation gave impetus to the process of educational awareness on HIV & AIDS back in December 2005 when, during World Aids Day, it launched the ‘Know Your Status’ campaign. The aim of the campaign is to encourage employees to undergo voluntary counselling and testing, and this will assist management to make decisions on how to assist employees in the workplace.

“We have already embarked on an extensive Employee Wellness Programme to ensure that we respond positively to those employees who voluntarily come forward to disclose their health status and seek assistance,” said Dr Mabunda.

“HIV & AIDS is a reality that faces companies and organisations globally. And the ‘Do nothing’ option is not an option for us. We want to join in the efforts of business and government in this regard to ensure that our employees, who are our most valued assets, have the necessary support and lead meaningful and productive lives.

“It will eventually be more costly for organisations not to engage in fighting the pandemic earlier in the process, through losses of human capital resulting from its casualties,” he said.

Issued by:      South African National Parks

Enquiries: Wanda Mkutshulwa

Head: Communications

South African National Parks

Tel: (012) 426-5201, Cell: 082-908-2692

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