By Rukaya Mosavel
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) has urged the family members of hujaaj to respect and abide by the rules of the airport. This comes after overcrowding issues experienced during the first departure of hujaaj on Tuesday at Cape Town International Airport. Family members and friends of hujaaj were entering into demarcated areas and creating unnecessary congestion for other passengers.
The corporate affairs specialists at the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) for Cape Town International Airport, Deborah Francis said they are trying their best to put everything in place to ensure that the facilitation is smooth.
“We are mindful of the very special occasion this is. This time around we’ve got certain barriers as you go into the checking area as well as the security check-point. We found that people actually went through and this area is only allowed for passengers during peak times. Because of the volume of people, it’s very difficult to manage the check-in area. So crowded people create potential risks,” she said.
At the check-in points, personal information of passengers and documents that are crucial to boarding and travelling is being processed. There are also luggage and packages that belong to other passengers. Safety and security for all is something ACSA holds paramount, she added.
“Because of the information and because of the type of processes that are taking place at the check-in areas, we can actually remove them, and we can call the South African police to intervene,” said Francis.
“We know it’s special and a spiritual send-off but we ask that people are mindful of other passengers and other hajj pilgrims,” Francis added.
ACSA has provided designated areas for family and friends to use and to share their farewell moments together to talk and pray.
“There are various pockets of spaces for people to greet. We have been in conversation with SAHUC and we have asked maybe we could do something in the plaza. Maybe we can just have an additional space to do a prayer and to also say goodbyes. It is something we are certainly thinking of. We understand the context and we are trying our best to ensure that this is the best send-off. There are rules in place to ensure that everyone has a pleasant airport experience.” VOC