Almost twenty local hujaaj have been held back in South Africa after not receiving their haj visas. President of the South African Haj and Umrah Council (Sahuc), Shaheen Essop confirmed on Sunday that out of the lot, four hujaaj are still waiting for their visas and others have been delayed from embarking on the spiritual journey. This follows a glitch in the intergrated filing system between local haj operators and the Saudi Haj Ministry which is being rolled out for the first time this year.
“Passports from various haj operators were submitted into the embassy for the issuance of visas of accredited hujaaj. Unfortunately, the embassy returned the passports, indicating they were unreadable. Upon further investigation with the Ministry of Hajj and Foreign Affairs, it appears as if there is a tehcnical glitch in the system,” Essop explained.
Sahuc together with local haj operators have already managed to notify all affected hujjaj and are working alongside the Saudi Ministry of Haj and Foreign Affairs to find an immediate resolution to the problem.
“At this point in time we don’t know how long it will take before the hujaaj are issued with their visas,” Essop continued. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)