Home PodcastInayet Wadee Clients left in frustration as SAHUC and Hajj operators at loggerheads over Hajj 2020 refunds

Clients left in frustration as SAHUC and Hajj operators at loggerheads over Hajj 2020 refunds

by Zahid Jadwat

JOHANNESBURG – Individuals have expressed frustration over alleged non-refunds for the cancelled Hajj of 2020, whilst Hajj operator Al-Jeem Al-Anwar Express and the South African Hajj and Umrah Council remain at loggerheads.


A number of individuals whose 2020 Hajj season trips were cancelled, due to travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have complained of their funds not being returned by Hajj operators.


Some claim they have been refunded just 50% of their total payments.


SAHUC confirmed that 15 out of 20 accredited Hajj operators have completed the refunds to their clients, whilst five have yet to do so. One of these operators, Al Jeem Al-Anwar Express have lambasted SAHUC for alleged “exploitation” and “hegemony” and claim to be “victims” of the situation.


Speaking to Salaamedia, Anisa Enamally said that she and a nine other family members are struggling to regain their funds from Al-Jeem operators after paying R15 000 for a Hajj package in February 2020.


Funds invested in Saudi Arabia


Enamally said that the family were previously informed that the deposit was to secure flights and excluded accommodation costs. She said that Sheikh Hassen Yusuf Panday from Al-Jeem later informed them that the funds had been invested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


“We were advised that the deposit being paid was to secure flights for the airlines and not for accommodation. When my husband clarified this matter with Sheikh Hassan in March 2020, he advised that we had been miscommunicated and the deposit paid had been invested in the Kingdom,” she said.


Meanwhile, Al Jeem Al-Anwar Express claims to be a ‘”victim” of the situation, shifting the blame onto the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC), whom they accuse of hegemony and exploitation.


SAHUC exhausted all efforts to recover funds


Shaheen Essop, president of SAHUC, said that they had attempted to bring operators and relevant authorities to the table in order to seek ways to recover the funds.


However, he said, “the unfortunate thing is that the economic situation in the Kingdom is such that they were not able to do so”.


Enamally confirmed to Salaamedia that SAHUC indicated that they are unable to assist her group any further because they supposedly exhausted all efforts.

Alleged lack of assistance from SAHUC


Sh. Hassen Panday told Salaamedia that the operator reached for assistance from SAHUC, the Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Hajj alike as well as Muassasah. However, he said, SAHUC “have left us [Al Jeem] alone on the ground and are claiming to be innocent”.


Sh. Panday alleged that the de facto Hajj regulator fails to understand the plight of the South African public.


In response, the body labelled the allegations as baseless claims and said that Al Jeem failed to comply with certain requirements set out by SAHUC. 


Shaheen Essop, president of SAHUC, said: “Operators that were compliant in terms of certain processes that we asked for went and sought outside funding to do what was necessary [complete the refunds]. This particular operator failed to comply with SAHUC’s requirements – albeit that they gave us a breakdown of monies that they deposited into the Kingdom”.


He added: “Why is it that they have not put their own money forward as deposits you know if they did not go by the electronic system and kept the Hujjaaj’s money in trust? When they were accredited, these are the aspects and these are the prerequisites that they attested to and that they signed accordingly in terms of that.”


Inayet Wadee spoke to Anisa Enamally, Al Jeem Al-Anwar and the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) on News & Views. Listen to the full discussions here:




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