The affordable education loan option
Cape Town -
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc), the agency dealing with Saudi Arabia on behalf of local Muslim pilgrims to Mecca, would ask the Saudi embassy to investigate whether more than an agreed 2 000 visas had been issued, council secretary Shaheen Essop said.
Saudi Arabia had cut this year’s global Hajj quota by 20 percent because renovations to increase the capacity of the Grand Mosque in Mecca will not be completed when the Hajj starts next month. South Africa’s quota was trimmed to 2 000.
To undertake the holy journey, prospective pilgrims register with Sahuc, are given accreditation and then make travel arrangements with Sahuc-accredited travel operators.
Essop said on Sunday that there were unconfirmed reports that unaccredited pilgrims, predominantly in Cape Town, were being offered visas. The pilgrims had allegedly paid the operators, but had not received the visas, he said.
They would approach the Saudi embassy to find out how many visas had been issued.
He said 2 000 visas had already been issued.
Essop said only 15 travel operators were accredited and pilgrims should demand their money back if their operator was not accredited.