Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-07-12
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) say South African Muslims wanting to go for Hajj for the first time could wait up to six years due to major backlogs.
Saudi Arabia has cut this year's global Hajj quota by 20 percent due to renovations to the Haram and the renovations will not be completed when Hajj commences in October.
South Africa’s quota was decreased by 500 and the backlog stood at 15,000.
SAHUC says it still has more than 12,000 applicants on its registry, of which more than 9,000 are first time applicants.
The council's Secretary General Shaheen Essop says, “Eventually once all the renovations have taken place in the kingdom, I’m almost sure we will get back to our original levels. However, one also needs to bear cognisance of other countries like Malaysia, which has a 33-year waiting list and they have a quota of 28,000.”
Earlier SAHUC confirmed that all hujjaj who have been affected by the 20% cut in the SA quota this year have now been contacted.
SAHUC confirmed to Voice of the Cape that all calls to the 375 affected hujjaj who registered for accreditation after 12 January 2012 were completed by 27 June 2013.
Essop confirmed that hajj operators had been in talks with another 125 hujjaj who had voluntarily deferred their haj to next year for various reasons.
This included people who were ready to go for haj after the deadline who had been swapped with others who registered earlier and are no longer able to go. Jointly, it makes for the full 500 that was cut from the SA haj quota of 2,500.