SAHUC to Accredit 1000 Pilgrims from the "Ready to Go" List for Hajj 2023
South Africa – The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) have made an announcement stating that they will grant accreditation to 1000 individuals from the “Ready to Go” list for Hajj 2023. The initial group of pilgrims is scheduled to depart around May 22, and SAHUC is urging the newly accredited individuals to act promptly.
In April, SAHUC introduced the list to expedite the process. They requested individuals who were financially capable and prepared to leave for Hajj at short notice to provide their names, in case there was an increase in the quota. Shaheen Essop, the President of SAHUC, explained that this measure was implemented to streamline the process. Initially, SAHUC had to review 6000 applicants to fill the originally allocated quota of 2500.
Essop stated, “We need to be aware that we don’t have much time for accreditation. While we appreciate the increased quota, we also want to avoid a situation where the quota is only partially filled. We compiled this list, which includes over 2000 names submitted between the earliest application date and December 31, 2022.”
Expansion of the Quota and Verification Process for Accreditation
The additional 1000 individuals will be added to the original quota of 2500, resulting in a total of 3500 pilgrims. The accreditation process has not yet begun, as SAHUC was informed of it only yesterday. Several verification and selection procedures must be carried out to ensure that only eligible individuals are chosen.
Operators Working on Packages for the Newly Accredited Pilgrims
Meanwhile, tour operators are working on designing packages for the new 1000 pilgrims while the list is being reviewed. However, Essop cautioned the newly accredited individuals that they should not expect an extended stay in the sacred lands.
“I believe the Hujjaj on this ‘ready to go’ list should prepare themselves for a journey of approximately four, three, or two weeks. Optimal timing may not be achievable due to various factors. It takes almost two weeks for the applicant to accept the accreditation, and the administrative process in the background requires approximately ten days. We aim to expedite this as much as possible, and people must understand that operators will only offer packages of shorter durations.”
Finalizing Packages and Anticipated Release of Accreditation List
The newly accredited individuals should also be aware that the packages available to them may differ in terms of rates compared to those offered previously.
“It is not reasonable to expect the same package rates that were available in February 2023. Many factors have changed, including potential fluctuations in the rates within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a significant weakening of the rand-to-dollar exchange rate. These considerations must be taken into account.”
Essop hopes that by Friday, the tour operators will have finalized their packages so that SAHUC can release the accreditation list and send out notifications via SMS. If all goes according to plan, 3500 Muslims from South Africa will have the opportunity to perform Hajj this year.
Source – https://twitter.com/sahuchajj/status/1655856447266119682
SAHUC Hajj Twitter announcement.