Inshallah, earlier this year I made an intention to perform Hajj.Â While I have done my Hajj in the past, my wife has not and I take this as a serious responsibility and core pillar of Islam.Â Subhanallah last week I gave my deposit to hopefully secure our bookings.
In the past we went with Al Anwar Hajj & Umrah group, their service I could not fault, their friendly & honest staff I remember till this day.
While I’ve no qualms with Al Anwar, my issue is with SAHUC -Â Before I type ahead please know I have no intention to slander or run-down this organization, with the responsibility they carry I’m sure constructive criticism will only help them to improve & better their organization. I understand they have a tremendous responsibility & immense pressure to look after the public’s best interests. For taking on this monumentous task I applaud them and pray that Allah accepts their efforts and guides them correctly.
- Public transparency: they need to be more contactable.Â When doing the registration I emailed a few times and did not received any reply.Â Add to that their office lines (JHB) are very seldom answered. Perhaps it was just myÂ personal experience.
- Coming from a website developer & graphic design perspective – Their website is not very compliant; broken links (gallery), scripting errors. The website simply does not work with Firefox. I’ll not even bring up the mediocre webdesign.Â We as muslims should pride ourselves in what we do. Should not the world’s view of south african Hajjee’s have a professional look & feel?
- Payment options:Â When registering, SAHUC give no option but to use a credit card or debit card. Personally i’ve no gripe with this but my concern is for our elderly folk who are;
a) not internet savvy &
b) not trusting of online sites.
Running a successful online store I tackle these issues daily.Â During online payment all three of my credit cards did not authorise due to a programming error on their side.
Eventually I had to call the Cape Town office (JHB did not answer) to pay over the phone.Â It is here that I got told that they do not accept bank transfers.Â Nonetheless after four or five tries the brother eventually processed my payment.Â Â Not a very efficient payment model.
- Website security – Anyone can simply type in an ID number (here)and immediately you will have access to an individual’s;
a) Full Name,
b) Contact numbers,
c) physical address,
e) next of kin.
With rampant crimes in South Africa could you imagine what a would be thief or fraudster can accomplish with such personal information? Yes one will have to know a registered ID number but the risk is still there. I feel a password protected area is a must-have.
- News – Their website has very few news updates.Â I understand that they do conduct interviews at random times on Radio Islam – why not make these transcripts available through their website. – Since registering I have had no feedback or communication. Simply word of mouth from friends saying “they’re going to release a list next week” or similar.
- Reputation – I do not speak for all muslims in Southern Africa, however many friends & family that I do know express a fair bit of frustration.Â While I do not know their full issue with SAHUC – perhaps if SAHUC had a public friendly face, more press releases, email newsletters and so forth they could air their side of a problem and not have the public condemn them.
With all complaints, it’s all too easy to complain, especially with the anonymity of the internet –
The above, in my opinion, is valid and constructive criticism.Â I urge you to add in your comments & options on this post.
Lastly,Â from my side – I’d be willing to design & implement a wordpress driven website, complete with static information pages, newsfeed with multiple categories, photogalleries, compliant in all web browsers at no cost to SAHUC.Â As for their registration system, I will gladly have my programmers & coders create a system to their spec and advise them accordingly, once again at no additional cost to SAHUC.
Once again, it is not my intention to run down SAHUC or complain,Â I like all prospective Hujjaaj want a better experience for everyone, including the selfless volunteers who donate their valuable time and energy to keep SAHUC going.