Travel Operators must refund pilgrims

February 14, 2021 – Travel operators have been warned to refund Hajj pilgrims or face legal consequences.
The South African Hajj and Umrah Council (Sahuc) this week issued a warning to Hajj tour operators to refund people who could not perform the pilgrimage last year due to the
pandemic.

Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest city
for Muslims. Due to the spread of covid-19 and the subsequent global travel restrictions, pilgrims from South Africa were unable to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Sahuc said the majority of accredited Hajj travel operators have refunded pilgrims.

The organisation listed six travel operators who still owe pilgrims money.
“All accredited Hajj travel operators have until February 20 to ensure that the Hujaaj (pilgrims) are refunded in full. Failure to refund the pilgrims will result in legal action being taken by the Sahuc, as they will be in breach of the code of conduct,” read a statement from Sahuc.

Shaheen Essop, president of Sahuc, said they had reached out to the South African and Saudi Arabian governments to expedite the process to repatriate funds that were paid to suppliers. He said agents were waiting for refunds from suppliers who had been paid before the lockdown. “Some operators refunded pilgrims from their own money. Some people
are in a dire situation. People may have lost their jobs or need the money to pay bills. We trying to expedite the process.”

This article appeared in Sunday Tribune.