JOHANNESBURG – South African Airways employees have been left in limbo for nearly a year.

The airline has been in business rescue since March last year and workers have still not been paid their voluntary severance packages.

Many of them have had to sell their houses and find other jobs.

READ: SAA’s BRPs in the firing line

SAA workers have been given an option of either retrenchment or voluntary severance packages.

Those who asked for severance packages were promised their payouts by the end of January.

Now, they’ve been told it will be paid in two parts, with the first part only expected on 12 February.

READ: SAA reaches salary agreement with some employees

Workers have expressed their distress in an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for an intervention.

They say life has been very difficult.

Some SAA workers have been hospitalised and others are giving up on the process completely.

READ: Court rules against SAA pilots’ attempt to declare lock-out unlawful

At the same time, pilots have been excluded from the payment expected this month.

This is linked to a lockout imposed on them after the SAA Pilots Association refused to accept the new terms and conditions.

READ: SAA pilots given 48-hour lock-out notice

The Public Enterprises Department expects the airline to be out of business rescue by the end of this month.

But it’s not clear when SAA will fly again because it currently has no aircraft. 

– eNCA’s Heidi Giokos reports.