By Kaya 959 Reporter
The South African government has withdrawn its support for the Miss SA pageant ahead of the Miss Universe ceremony in Israel.
Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthetwa, says talks with the organisers fell flat. The government held discussions with organisers in the hope that Miss SA Lalela Mswane would withdraw from the pageant.
Mthethwa adds that while initial consultations appeared to be engaging and constructive, talks soon turned sour.
He says organisers lack appreciation of the potentially negative impact that Mswane’s participation will have on her future as a young black woman.
The Miss Universe pageant is taking place in Israel next month.
The department says the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented. It says the government cannot in good conscience associate itself with such.
Phemelo Motene speaks to Tessa Dooms about the government’s withdrawal of support of the Miss SA organisation heading to Miss Universe in Israel:
“Our first preference was to try and find each other so as to issue a joint media statement. This has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision now to publicly distance the government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter,” says Mthethwa.
The minister says he hopes that common sense will prevail, adding that the department remains open to further discussions.
Miss SA officials defend Mswane
In a post on its Facebook page, Miss SA organisers debunked rumours that Mswane had withdrawn from the pageant.
Miss South Africa Organisation CEO, Stephanie Weil, says the claims are completely unfounded and untrue.
Weil says the organisation is thrilled to be able to make Mswane’s childhood dream come true. The KZN beauty has always wanted to wear the crown while representing her country globally.
Weil says Mswane has also spoken openly about being bullied as a child.
“She will not be bullied as an adult against fulfilling her ambition. A very, very small but extremely vocal group has attempted and failed, to derail Mswane’s chances at the prestigious international pageant.
“As the reigning Miss South Africa Lalela will join participants from close to 70 countries in this contest, and will represent South Africa to the best of her ability,” Weil says.