South Africa Withdraws Support for Miss SA Pageant
After clinging to its decision to participate in the Miss Universe contest hosted by "Israel," the South African government announced that it withdrew support for the Miss SA pageant.
On Sunday, the South African government announced that it has "withdrawn its support" from the current Miss South Africa (SA) pageant due to fruitless attempts to persuade the pageant to reconsider its plan to participate in the Miss Universe event, which is set to take place in "Israel", according to the South African Government News Agency (SA news).
This position comes after pressure on Lalela Mswane, who recently won the title of Miss South Africa, to boycott the international beauty contest because of "atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinians," the South African Ministry of Arts and Culture said in a statement.
However, the local organizers of the beauty pageant in South Africa are insisting that Lalela Mswane will be representing her country in the Miss Universe pageant, which will be held in "Eilat" on the Red Sea coast on December 12.
[Read] Government has withdrawn its support and that of South Africa for the #MissSA pageant after unsuccessful consultations on persuading the pageant to reconsider its decision to partake in the Miss Universe event scheduled to be held in Israel https://t.co/RZuN2iLYke pic.twitter.com/mOPIHD7zFh— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) November 15, 2021
The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture said: "the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and [the] government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such [atrocities]."
South Africa and the Palestinian Cause
South Africa has supported the Palestinian cause since the two sides established formal diplomatic relations in 1995, a year after the end of the apartheid regime. South Africa also reduced its diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv in 2019 and withdrew its ambassador.
The South African Minister of Culture warned that the organizers' insistence on their position could lead to "the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman."
The country's ruling African National Congress has urged organizers of the Miss South Africa pageant to heed the fervent call for a boycott of the next Miss Universe contest in "apartheid Israel."