With less than two months to the start of the holiest Islamic pilgrimage, eager South African Muslim pilgrims are still not sure whether they will be permitted to perform Hajj this year.
Sixty-thousand pilgrims, comprising local and international travellers, will be allowed to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage in July, according to the Health Ministry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), adding that inoculation against Covid-19 using any of the KSA’s approved vaccines was a requirement.
In a statement released yesterday, the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) said it was still awaiting further information from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in the KSA on whether or not would-be South African pilgrims will be permitted to perform the Hajj.
At the weekend, the Saudi Ministry of Health provided a list of requirements that pilgrims have to meet. These include: pilgrims must be between the ages of 18 and 60; in good health/no co-morbidities and not have been hospitalised in the past six months; both doses of any KSA-approved vaccine must have been administered; and international travellers will be quarantined for three days upon arrival.
“Time is limited already,” said SAHUC secretary general Moaaz Casoo.
“We don’t know when the list of countries allowed for Hajj will be sent. We will keep Hujaaj (pilgrims) posted the moment we have official news,” said Casoo.
Regarding onlly vaccinated pilgrims being allowed to perform the pilgrimage, Casoo said, “This is a Saudi government regulation; nothing anyone can do, as every country has their own Covid-19 regulations.”
SAHUC president Shaheen Essop said it usually takes at least four months to finalise travel logistics for their total quota.
However, they have not received any information on the quota that has been awarded.