Pilgrims at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Image: canva

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SA Hajj pilgrims to be paid over R14 million by Saudi government

South African pilgrims who attended Hajj in 2023 are set to be compensated over R14 million by the Saudi goverment for poor service delivery.

09-07-24 13:39
Pilgrims at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Image: canva

Hajj experience leaves pilgrims unhappy

A five-day trip to Hajj in Saudi Arabia left a group of 3 500 pilgrims with a bitter taste in their mouths, after experiencing poor and inadequate service delivery

As reported by IOL, the Saudi Arabian government, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in particular, along with a service provider, have agreed to pay over 3 million Saudi riyal, or around R14.5 million, to 3 500 South African pilgrims who participated in last year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) said that the pilgrims would be partially refunded for their stay at Mecca in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, in the form of an ex-gratia payment due to the bad service they received.

Sahuc president, Moaz Casoo revealed at a press conference, that while attending the Hajj during the camp last year, they experienced challenges such as insufficient security, which allowed pilgrims from other countries to roam around and their items were stolen.

“They took our food, drinks, and used our ablution facilities, which resulted in them being blocked and we had no services to the facilities and they were not accessible for disabled people.

“We had no water for over two hours as there was not enough water provision, air conditioners not working,” Casoo said as per IOL.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and it’s one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the foundation of Muslim life.

It’s important for all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey to do this at least once in their lifetime.

Hajj takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and a number of sacred rituals are performed. It is a deeply spiritual experience meant to foster a sense of unity among Muslims and remind them of the equality of all believers.