The South African Haj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) will now reassess its haj accreditation list, after 1379 of the 2000 accredited prospective pilgrims indicated their acceptance before Monday’s cut-off date. The remaining 621 either opted out, or failed to notify Sahuc within the allotted period.
Despite a slow uptake upon the lists release on April 17th, responses eventually increased closer to Sahuc’s deadline. 226 of those who opted against taking up the accreditation either cancelled or transferred to next year’s process, whereas 395 people were cancelled by Sahuc for failing to inform the haj regulatory body of their decision.
“As a result, that 395 people will now lose 30 points in their accreditation. If they are first time hujjaj, in order to get back into the queue they would need to reapply and go straight to the back,” said Sahuc president, Shaheen Essop.
The accreditation process itself works on a specially designed points system, with every potential pilgrim receiving 100 points upon their initial registration. Repeat pilgrims and those who cancel will subsequently receive a point’s deduction in order to push them down the queue. This is aimed at giving priority to those who have yet to undertake the holy journey.
“The only time a repeat pilgrim is afforded that (the opportunity to go again) is if it’s a male pilgrim serving as a Mahram to another family member,” he stated.
With a substantial void now left by those who failed to take up their accreditation, Essop said Sahuc would seek to “go through the processes” before releasing a follow-up list. They would also assess the cases of those with legitimate grounds as to their failure to respond in time.
“At the end of the day you’ve had your 10 days, you knew you were in the queue for the last 5 or 3 years, so as a result of that you need to go and make sure you do what is necessary. If you are not financially able, then we will have to transfer it,” he explained.
The next step for prospective hujjaj will now be to approach and conduct their contracting with the haj operator of their choice. Essop stressed that for those by the means, paying their respective operators upfront would be the most advisable option. Every accredited haji would need to have a signed contract in place by the end of April.
Hajj 1436 is expected to fall between the 21st and 26th September 2015. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)