As the haj season begins with the departure of the first batch of hujaaj on Monday, a total of 183 visas have already issued to the hujaaj. Chairperson of the South African Travel and Haj Operators Association (Sathoa), Sedick Steenkamp said no other glitches besides the delay in visas occurred in the days leading up to the departure of hujaaj.
“This is a very exciting time of year. We cannot believe that haj season is here already. We ask the hujaaj to co-operate with the authorities at the airport.”
Steenkamp has urged all hujaaj to adhere to the rules and regulations when on their journey, to ensure they have a safe and comfortable trip.
“We urge hujaaj to be at the airport at least two and a half hours before the time as chaos usually unfolds during this busy time of the year at the airport.”
In addition to this, Steenkamp stressed that hujaaj check and ensure that they have all their relevant documentation with them all the time.
While families are encouraged to see their loved ones off at the airport in a show of support, Steenkamp requested that friends and family refrain from blocking any path ways. This is to ensure a free and orderly flow at the airport.
Hujaaj should not forget their medication and medical documentation for those who are chronic sufferers.
“By next week, we will be issuing every one of the two thousand visas to the South African hujaaj. And at this stage it appears Haj 1435 is ready for take off,” Steenkamp concluded. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)