Cape Town – The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed the South African government’s move to dissociate itself from a decision by the reigning Miss SA Lalela Mswane to take part in the annual Miss Universe in Israel.
The government’s decision came after growing calls for Mswane to boycott the pageant over Israeli’s alleged atrocities against Palestine.
Local beauty pageant organisers have been adamant that the recently crowned Miss SA should go.
“It has proven difficult to persuade the Miss SA pageant organisers to reconsider their decision to partake in the Miss Universe event,” the arts and culture ministry said in a statement.
The government, therefore “withdraws its support” following the organisers’ “intransigence”.
The pageant is slated for Eilat, Israel on December 12.
“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,” it said.
Following the announcement, the ANC has released a statement supporting the government’s decision.
“The ANC continues to call upon Nine-Squared, which owns the Miss South Africa organisation, to hear and listen to the overwhelming call for the Miss South Africa team to boycott the upcoming apartheid Israel-hosted Miss Universe. The racism, human rights violations, illegal settlements, ongoing unlawful occupation and the apartheid laws of Israel are well documented and should be compelling enough for your withdrawal,” reads the statement, in part.
Read the full ANC statement here:
— African National Congress (@MYANC) November 14, 2021
Meanwhile, the Miss SA organisation has remained adamant that it is “not getting involved in a political war of words and looks forward to watching Miss SA make the country proud on an international stage”.
In a recent statement, the organisation partly wrote: “Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, will represent South Africa at the Miss Universe competition, held this year in the picturesque Israeli resort town, Eilat, on December 13. This is contrary to any indication otherwise. Miss South Africa Organisation CEO, Stephanie Weil, said that she was aware there were statements indicating that Lalela had pulled out but that these were completely unfounded and untrue.”
“We are not a political organisation and The Miss Universe pageant is not a politically inspired event.”
Read the Miss Universe statement here:
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Compiled by Sinothando Siyolo
Additional reporting by AFP