Monday, 15 November 2021

Pretoria: Government has withdrawn its support and that of South Africa for the Miss South Africa pageant after unsuccessful consultations on persuading the pageant to reconsider its decision to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.

In a statement on Sunday, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, said while he appreciates the likely impact on the individual interest of the current Miss South Africa, he strongly believes that the reasons that require her withdrawal from Miss Universe 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,” the Minister said.

Government withdrew its support after consultations with the Miss South Africa pageant organisers failed.

“What appeared like engaging, constructive and progressive discussions during initial consultations was later met with an unpleasant demeanour that is intransigent and lacking appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman.

“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,” the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture said.

Mthethwa said government’s first preference was to try to find common ground with the pageant organisers, and to issue a joint media statement.

“This has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision now to publicly distance government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organisers’ stance on this matter.

“But even so, we still hope some common sense will prevail in the interest of the reigning queen, Lalela Mswane, and we remain open for discussions in that regard.” the Minister said.