South Africa’s private sector investment in training and its erosion as a result of HIV and AIDS

The South African economy is dependent on the productivity of its labour. To maximise productivity, the labour force must possess the appropriate skills. The private sector invests more funds than the government on training. However, the HIV and AIDS epidemic is eroding this investment. Based on an estimate of the HIV and AIDS death rate and data on training expenditure by the private sector, this study concludes that the loss for all sectors was estimated at almost R10 million (R9,871,732) during the study year, equating to USD 1,183,661 per annum. This represents on average 0.73 per cent of the investment in training. The real costs of HIV and AIDS on business, which includes absenteeism, declining productivity and other costs are difficult to quantify, but they are likely to significantly exceed this lost training investment as a result of increasing morbidity and mortality rates due to HIV. It is in the private sector’s best interest to ensure that a sound HIV and AIDS policy is in place. Companies must also invest in in effective prevention programmes and provide the appropriate treatment to employees if needed or unavailable through the public health sector.

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