International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has told Radio Islam some Muslims who perform hajj every year should give others a chance to also embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Pandor was speaking to Radio Islam on the sidelines of the State of Nation address (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday.
With an approximate waiting period of between 4 to 5 years and more than 23,000 first time hujjaj that are still on the list, there is hope that the Saudi Hajj and Umrah Ministry consider more significant increases in the quota for forthcoming pilgrimages.
Speaking to Radio Islam, Pandor says she had conversations with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and the South African Hajj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) about South Africa’s hajj quota.
“We need to continue the conversation because we also must appreciate that the Muslim Ummah is a very large one and that many of our communities tend to take account of the fact that we should perhaps execute Hajj once in our lives and not every year and that we must give others and opportunity.”
Pandor also says that Saudi Arabia is also doing an excellent job of hosting the hajj which is not an easy task.
“Saudi is trying to ensure there’s an environment that is healthy where we don’t have the kinds of loss of life and stampedes that we had in the past. So they are doing the best that they can and we must work with them in that regard.”
Pandor adds that she does meet her counterpart in Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom has a deep appreciation of the love of Islam in South Africa and really admire the Muslim community.
Faizel Patel – 18/02/2020
Listen to the interview with Naledi Pandor