From the news desk

First hujjaj depart for haj

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There was high spirits at Cape Town International Airport as the first group of hujjaj departed for haj Monday. Sixty-six pilgrims left with Khidmatul-Awaam pilgrim services from Cape Town, 40 on a local flight and the rest on an international flight on Emirates airline. Although pilgrims were overwhelmed with emotion, all flight procedures ran smoothly.

“The pilgrims were very excited but tearful and left an upbeat manner,” said Sedick Steenkamp, the chairperson of the South African Travel Haj Operators Association (Sathoa)

He said airport authorities were impressed with the decorum displayed by hujaaj and their families. Usually, the airport departure terminal is swamped with people, often creating congestion for the other airport users.

“Airport authorities were complimentary of the meeters and greeters at the airport,” says Steenkamp.

Another 100 pilgrims departed from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Monday. Small groups will depart daily until the larger groups leave by the first week of September. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)

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