State withdraws support for Miss SA in Israel

The government in South Africa has withdrawn support for Miss South Africa in the Miss Universe contest to be held in Israel.

There have been calls for Lalela Mswane to boycott the pageant despite organisers saying it should not be politicised.

Those opposing South Africa’s participation in the contest are protesting against Israel’s alleged committing of atrocities against Palestinians.

South Africans say they known too well the politics of apartheid and are therefore not in support of what is going on in Israel.

In a statement, South Africa’s arts and culture ministry said that “the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented” and could not “in good conscience associate itself with such”.

Israel has in the past denied committing atrocities and rejects accusations that its treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid.

Minister of Arts’ Sports and Culture Nathi Mthethwa explained that Mswane’s withdrawal could have been good for South Africa’s global standing “in comparison to a one-off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman”.

“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,” said Mthethwa.

The Miss Universe contest is set to be held on 12 December.


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