More than 700 people responded to the call to fill the additional haj quota and the South African Haj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) is now in the process of ratifying 500 hujjaj to travel over the next two weeks. The hujjaj have until the end of Monday to accept or decline their accreditation and confirm their respective travel packages. Those who have indicated their readiness will be informed by SMS of their accreditation.
On Friday, Sahuc released the list of 12 accredited haj operators who will carry the additional 500 pilgrims. Their packages are available at the Sahuc website www.sahuc.org.za
The South African Haj and Umrah Travel Association (Sathoa) called an emergency meeting with haj operators to identify which haj operators have the capacity to handle the extra hujjaj. Sathoa chairperson Sedick Steenkamp said operators discussed the challenges of sourcing flights, accommodation and general cost of a last-minute package.
“The main issue now is for hujjaj to accept their accreditation as soon as possible so we can get the numbers finalised and sort out the departure dates.”
The South African Muslim Travel Association (Samta) Imtiaz Malek said the unfortunate part of the late quota is that the travel packages would be restrictive.
“We have packages that are departing by the 20th July but by and large, most of them are three-week packages because of the short notice.”
There are only certain hotels that are available in Madina and Makkah and there’s the challenge of accommodation in Aziza,” he said.
“Operators have packages of R46 000 upwards which are affordable. We have to commend the operators for taking the initiative to accommodate the hujjaj.”