SA Government says it Won’t Support Miss SA at Miss Universe Pageant in Israel

The South African government has withdrawn its support and that of South Africa for Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane in the Miss Universe pageant set to be held in Israel.

The global competition is set to take place in Israel in December.

In a statement on Sunday, the Arts, Culture and Sport Department says the decision follows unsuccessful consultations with the Miss SA leadership to reconsider their decision to partake in the Miss Universe.

The department said at first its engagements with the Miss SA leadership seemed engaging, constructive and progressive.

Spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo says the department was later met with an unpleasant demeanour that does not appreciate the impact this will have on Mswane.

“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and Government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such. In an attempt to demonstrate what partaking in Miss Universe means for South Africans and many others across the world, the Miss SA pageant organisers were referred to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s views following his visit to the area. Indicating that Israel was guilty of the apartheid treatment of Palestinians.”

Khumalo says whilst appreciative of the likely impact on the individual interest of the current Miss South Africa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthetwa strongly believes that reasons that require withdrawal far outweigh individual interests.

“If anything, by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally in comparison to a once off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman.”

Khumalo says while the department’s first preference was to try and find common ground, “this has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision now to publicly distance Government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter.”

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