26 Jun 2013
A list of the 500 South African hujjaj who are due to be cut for this year is in the process of being finalised, the South African Travel and Haj Operators Association (Sathoa) confirmed to VOC on Wedneday morning. The confirmation came from Sathoa chairperson, Sedick Steenkamp, who promised more details later in the day. At the same time, the South African Haj and and Umrah Council’s (Sahuc) secretary general, Shaheen Essop, reported on Wednesday morning that thus far, it had received the names of 120 hajjis who were deferred from the affected list.
The list was expected to be finalised by haj operators at the weekend, but things appeared to have taken longer to be forwarded to the regulator by Tuesday. From there, hujjaj are to be contacted personally by the regulator and reassured again that their accreditation for Haj 1435 was guaranteed, since they would go to the top of the 2014 accreditation list. Last week Sahuc stated that the list of 500 would not be published.
This list is based on people who are no longer able to afford haj this year due to the 15% devaluation of the rand, those who have yet to finalise haj contracts or complete payment on their haj packages, as well as those who had applied for haj accreditation after 12 January 2012. This was agreed to at a meeting between Sahuc and haj operators a week ago.
De-accredited Hujaaj to be notified soon
Cii News | 25 June 2013
The 500 aspirant Hujaaj who will not be afforded a trip to the holy lands this year will be notified by authorities in the next few days.
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) secretary general, Shaheen Essop, said they were in the process of finalizing the names of the affected individuals. This comes after quota allocated by the Saudi hajj ministry to South Africa for this year’s pilgrimage was slashed by 500.
The reduction from 2 500 to 2 000 was as reportedly a result of major renovations taking place in the Haram of Makkah .
“Basically we have a system where the last 500 people that applied for accreditation
will be taken off the list,” Essop said.
He said the regulator consulted with hajj operators and travel agencies to minimize
the impact of the move. He said a consensus was reached in the procedure followed to remove individuals from the list.
“We told the operators that if there is someone in the 500 that is financially
committed and someone in the 2000 (that are accredited) that has not financially
accredited or is physically able then they can swap the names about,” Essop said.
He said the 500 affected would be guaranteed a spot on the accredited list for next
“We will inform the affected people via SMS like we informed them about their
accreditation,” Essop said.
Meanwhile Makkah Govenor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais,
head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, over the weekend emphasized the need
for reducing foreign and domestic pilgrims as a result of expansion work at the
Grand Mosque in Makkah.
“The main objective of the expansion project is to improve the quality of service
being extended to the guests of God,” the governor said, adding that the decision to
reduce foreign pilgrims by 20 percent and domestic pilgrims by 50 was taken to
protect the honor and safety of the guests of God.
Arab News reported that Sheikh Sudais said the ongoing expansion work at the mataf
(the circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba) would reduce its capacity from
48,000 to 22,000 faithful per hour.
“The decision to cut the number of pilgrims is a temporary one and was taken in
public interest,” he said.