Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Exploitation of the Hujjaaj

For the Ummah

The Hajj business in South Africa is worth about R210-million per year, assuming an average hajj package of R30,000.00 per hujjaaj, and 7000 hujjaaj leaving the shores of South Africa.

The sale of air tickets is controlled by the Association of South Africa Travel Agents (ASATA)-affiliated Travel Agents of which Travel Unlimited, Sure Flywell Travel and Wembley Travel are members. Therefore, the air ticket monopoly for the hajj is controlled by these three organisations.

In 2005, Sure Flywell Travel amassed a net profit (i.e. after expenses were deducted) of R10-million for air ticket sales alone i.e. this figure excludes accomodation package profits.

If Sure Flywell Travel can achieve this level of profit, the chances are good that the other two companies are achieving similar profit margins. This is not unrealistic considering the R210-million value of Hajj packages.

This type of exploitation of the poor is unacceptable and must be rectified immediately. The question is: What is the Ummah going to do about it?

It is obvious that this type of problem cannot be left to the so-called "leaders" of the Ummah, as they themselves have proved that they are not capable of resolving problems or even setting direction for the Ummah. Many of them (not all) are part of the problem. The founding member organizations of SAHUC and the Executive's of SAHUC is as responsible as the Travel Agents for allowing the exploitation.

For as long as the Ummah remains ignorant and apathetic, they will always be lead astray. The time has come to mobilise and educate one another of how we are being mislead by prominent individuals in order to enrich themselves.

Why are we not marching to the SAHUC and Travel Agent's offices to demand lower Hajj Package prices? Because we allow ourselves to be used and we are quite content with it.

Muhammad al-Haq


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with this. We cannot allow ourselves to be exploited by greedy travel operaters that are only interested in serving the rich with their 5 star Hilton packages! It makes me wonder why we even have a Haj & Umrah council.
It's not enough to just talk about it, we have to act! I think we should hear what the Haj & Umrah council has to say about this. Any comments?

February 1, 2006 at 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Adila P said...

Have you checked if this R10 million profit is the profit on hajj tickets only? I am sure they sell airtickets for all destinations. This may be the annual profit on all air ticket sales, and not an indication of mark up on hajj tickets...

February 1, 2006 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Bilal said...

This is an email that has been finding its way into many an inbox- I have not checked the details, but I suppose the relevant parties would clear up any errors if they deem necesarry... Let us wait and see! (or somebody could find out and confirm/deny..)

February 1, 2006 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWW bro!

An analysis of the exact cost of the whole hajj trip would be interesting. I havent been, and am not experienced in this type of thing so I wont try. What i am suggesting is to the cent costing of the trip, so we can see using a breakdown where that 30K is going to. That way we're not just emotional about this, but have the exact facts of the matter. If after that we find that the profit is 10K, it wont be easy for these guys to hide behind gray mysterious lines.

Being an analyzer myself, I would think this is the first place to start. Also having been in industry, the first step in cost cutting is to account for every cent of your expenditure. When the cards are on the table, with the bare bones truth, then we can talk!

Anyway we can do this?


February 1, 2006 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous MK said...

exploitation or just good business? i'm sure the agents mentioned invest a huge amount of money in putting up charter flights... and past experiences have shown that other agents trying to set up charters come into numerous problems and most flights are delayed by days, some times weeks and some flights were even cancelled.. so its the risk vs rewards scenario.. so are they charging excessive amounts? no.. cos air tickets for hajj is not meant to be charity..

February 1, 2006 at 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


well lets see what we get. We muslims are rather emotional and less rational, which is a scourge of our times it seems. It leads to incompetence and being over sensitive and defensive. Its not often (if at all) other peoples fault that they dont respect us. We have never earned it!


February 3, 2006 at 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show us the facts and we'll be prepared to take action; mere speculation doesn't warrant commitment or interest in what seems to be yet another attempt and avenue at venting unfounded frustrations.
Have the links to this Blog been sent/ forwarded to SAHUC or perhaps even the travel agents themselves?

February 7, 2006 at 6:31 AM  
Anonymous MK said...

they said the insdustry is worth R210 million a year... thats just revenue.. what bout costs? agents only get commission on air tickets.. thats a fixed %.. then there's the hotel costs, staff, transport, logistics... and the effort put in by many agents.. and the risk?? what if a flight gets delayed by a day or two or a week... the hajee's are not expected to cover the costs of their accomodation if they not using it.. who carries that risk? its business..there are many agents out there offering cheap packages.. but s.africans are spoilt.. they dont want to go there and rough it.. does any1 want to stay 3 or 4 k's from the haram?

the price of air tickets may be overpriced but if Saudia are charging the same price why should flywell/saa charge less??

February 8, 2006 at 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't eat sweetcake from fruitcakes!! Check out who is hooligan and ask yourself why s/he does not dare put his / her money where his / her mouth is ...

April 19, 2006 at 2:31 PM  

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