By Al Qalam Reporter
There is still no word from the Saudi authorities on whether the Hajj 1441AH will take place this year or not, The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) said in a statement.
The Kingdom closed its borders and blocked all access to the two Holy Mosques following the spread of Covid-19.
Muslims from across the world were unable to perform the Ramadan Umrah this year because of the closure of the two harams.
Sahuc secretary-general, Moaaz Casoo, said in a statement that the organisation strives to serve the interest of the community guided by the policies of the Ministry of Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He said that all prospective pilgrims and other role players in South Africa will be informed when information becomes available.
Casoo said that they are waiting for information from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on when the South African borders will reopen for international travel.
He said that Sahuc was in “constant consultation” with all the accredited hajj operators and its legal team to determine outcomes under different scenarios if hajj is disallowed or if there was a reduction in the quota of passengers allowed into the Kingdom.
Sahuc said that while they have been advised by their legal team that the travel operators may charge customers an administrative fee if hajj is disallowed, Sahuc “is pleased to inform all hujaaj” that after engagement with the South African accredited hajj operators, they will not be charging any administrative fees, however, the following charges might be applicable where incurred.
*Hujaaj will be fully responsible for any airline cancellation fee for air tickets issued according to airline policies and regulations; Hujaaj are fully responsible for any cash deposit fees incurred. (Cash fees paid to your operators).
*All refunds due to hujaaj will be paid according to the Saudi Principles and Partners terms and conditions once these are made known. Refunds can only be processed upon receipt of these refunds back into the operator’s accounts.
*Cancellation fee will only be applicable if hujaaj opts to cancel before any announcements from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah or the South African government that hajj is disallowed. This is in accordance to the contract entered into between the operator and the accredited hujaaj.
“All accredited hujaaj who have accepted, but who have not yet committed financially must contact their selected accredited operator and inform the operator whether you are still interested in travelling this year given the pandemic, or if the hajj duration or quota may be reduced as a result.
“Bear in mind that the pricing of packages will be affected due to the significant decline of the South African rand to the US dollar,” he added.
He said that Sahuc will refund the R1 500 accreditation fee to all hujaaj if the hajj is cancelled and if they receive any cancellation requests from hujaaj.
“Any hujaaj with a contract must first be released from it before accreditation is cancelled with Sahuc. All applicants will be put back into the queue on date and time priority. Accreditation for 1442AH will take place on date and time priority as per the rules set out on the Sahuc website,” Casoo said.