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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Hajj 2023: 2 500 South African pilgrims allowed to perform – Saudi Arabia announces

Ideally, South Africa would have hoped for a larger quota considering the extensive waiting list for those wanting to perform the pilgrimage.


South Africa has been granted a quota of 2 500 that will be allowed to perform hajj in 2023 or the Islamic year 1444.

The announcement was made by the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) on Wednesday.

Ideally, South Africa would have hoped for a larger quota considering the extensive waiting list for those wanting to perform the pilgrimage.

Hajj quota

While, South Africa’s Hajj has been granted a quota of 2 500, in previous years and an additional 1 000 was afforded to the country as courtesy by Saudi Arabia.

The waiting lists for South Africans wanting to perform the pilgrimage ballooned to a backlog of about 16 years in 2022, from a previous amount of between five and eight years.

ALSO READ: Saudi Arabia returns Hajj quota to pre-Covid levels

Accreditation

Sahuc’s secretary general Moaaz Casoo said they will keep South African pilgrims updated on the accreditation process to perform the Hajj.

“We will inform the public on our website and social media platforms of the release date for the first accreditation list for South Africa.”

South Africans have to register and be accredited with Sahuc before embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

This is due to the high number of people that apply to go, with the majority of them being first time pilgrims.

Lifting restrictions

Earlier this week, Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah announced the lifting of the restrictions while speaking at a conference about the hajj.

“I bring you two bits of good news in this meeting. The first: The return of the numbers of pilgrims to what they were before the pandemic without any age restrictions,” al-Rabiah said, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Al-Rabiah also stressed the keenness of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to improve and develop all services and solutions provided to pilgrims.

Hajj tech

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj also announced plans to launch a smart card with the aim of enhancing pilgrims’ experiences via electronic solutions.

The Nusuk Foundation will work with the General Authority of Awqaf to implement the smart card system that will contain users’ personal, residential and health information linked to an electronic app.

The exhibition is also hosting the Hajj Hackathon Challenge, which aims to bring together creatives, tech innovators and business developers to develop ideas and solutions that will help improve services for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Naledi Pandor’s son talks about his first Hajj

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