A trade union representing employees at provisionally liquidated airline Nationwide claims medical aid contributions were not paid but the airline denied this yesterday.
United Association of SA spokesman Andre Venter said: "As if the shock announcement by Nationwide about its application for liquidation was not enough, our members discovered that their medical aid contributions had not been paid to Discovery for the past two months.
"This effectively renders them without medical cover."
But Nationwide financial director Peter Griffiths told Sapa: "I have no idea where they get a story like that from. We were completely up to date until we were provisionally liquidated."
Venter said their dilemma came to light when doctors and pharmacies told patients that their cover had been suspended and bills would not be paid.
This was confirmed by Discovery Health, the provisional liquidator and a human resources manager.
Venter said they were concerned about what would happen to employees needing emergency medical care. They had tried unsuccessfully to facilitate an arrangement with Discovery Health.
Meanwhile, the airline's attorney Haroon Maher said they had received at least 10 expressions of interest locally and internationally from people who wanted to buy the airline.
The airline went into provisional liquidation last week, stranding passengers countrywide.
"People are busy putting together offers," Maher said. "When the real offers come in, we can adjudicate."
If a buyer is found for the company, which includes 16 aircraft and a logistics and maintenance division, the airline will come out of liquidation and jobs could be saved, he said.
An employee at the company dealing with the provisional liquidation said she alone had received about 4000 claims from passengers.
"They are upset, but luckily not with us." - Sapa