PRESS STATEMENT: #Africa4Palestine welcomes the South African government’s withdrawal of support for Miss SA, over Israel boycott

14 November 2021

The human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine joins thousands of South Africans and numerous of human rights groups across the world in welcoming the statement on behalf of the South African government announcing its withdrawal of support for Miss South Africa. This is as a result of Miss South Africa’s intention to participate in this year’s Miss Universe pageant which is being hosted in Apartheid Israel.

In an official statement issued earlier today South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC), Cde Nathi Mthethwa, explained that:

“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 [in Israel] that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman…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 South African] Government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter.” [Below find the full and complete official Department statement or click here].

This year’s Miss Universe pageant serves as nothing less than a sanctions busting Israel propaganda trip. Our South African government and our people are well aware of the Israeli regime’s well documented human rights violations and Apartheid policies. Endorsement or association with Israel would fly in the face of our history and current position that there should be no normal relations with an abnormal regime.

South Africa has downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel and withdrawn our Ambassador for over 2 years now. Recently our president Cyril Ramaphosa said “As long as that struggle persists we will be on the side of the Palestinians…we will always be on the right side because we know what is happening there, its gross apartheid taking place there and we cannot but countenance a situation which is a duplicate or replica of what we went through, that we are not going to apologise for.”

Last week a South African diplomat, Lesiba Machaba was assaulted, man-handled and abused by Israeli police near Ramallah.

There are clear and negative consequences for the image of South Africa with Miss South Africa proceeding to participate in this year’s Miss Universe. We welcome today’s decision and now expect, given the withdrawal of South African government endorsement, that Miss South Africa, Ms Lalela Mswane, will herself withdraw from the upcoming Israeli hosted pageant – this withdrawal by Mswane is something we were led to understand was going to happen earlier this week, before the u-turn and backtracking by Mswane presumably under pressure from her boss Stephanie Weil – the CEO of Miss South Africa.

The calls to boycott this years Miss Universe hosted in Israel were initially made by Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela and the Royal House of Mandela and Mveso, followed by civil society groups including #Africa4Palesitne, PSAYL, YH4P, Y4P, KZN PSF, ANC, EFF, Aljamah, COSATU, SACP, ANCWL, ANCYL, MYM of Venda, NFP, ANCand many other organisations.

Stephanie Weil and the Miss South company has done damage to our image as a nation and threatens to undermine our principled government position by being “ambassadors for South Africa” in a country where we have no official ambassador – and for good reason. We hope that Weil and Miss South Africa, the company, allows Miss SA to withdraw from the competition due to take place in Israel on the land of disposed Palestinians.

If the Miss South Africa organisation does not allow a withdrawal, we as Africa4Palestine, will proceed with our major planned protest this coming Friday in in Johannesburg.

ISSUED BY AFRICA 4 PALESTINE

For comment contact, Bram Hanekom: +27 71 138 4423 / +27 71 138 4423
Muhammad Desai: +27842119988

AFRICA 4 PALESTINE

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SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR MISS SA PAGEANT

MEDIA STATEMENT

Sunday, 14 November 2021

The South African government withdraws its support and that of South Africa for the Miss South Africa pageant following the latter’s intransigence and disregard of advice against partaking in the Miss Universe pageant scheduled to be held in Israel during the month of December 2021.

Following unsuccessful consultations initiated by the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, it has proven difficult to persuade the Miss SA pageant organisers to reconsider their decision to partake in the Miss Universe event scheduled to be held in Israel during the month of December 2021. What during initial consultations appeared like engaging, constructive and progressive discussions, 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. In an attempt to demonstrate what partaking in Miss Universe means for South Africans and many others across the world, the Miss SA pageant organisers were referred to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s views following his visit to the area. Indicating that Israel was guilty of the apartheid treatment of Palestinians, he said, “Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.”

Whilst appreciative of the likely impact on the individual interest of the current Miss South Africa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture strongly believes that reasons that require withdrawal 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.” explained Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“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 Government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter”, said Minister Nathi Mthethwa. “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.”

END

Ms Masechaba Khumalo: Spokesperson (Minister)
Cell: 082 858 4415 | Email: MasechabaK@dsac.gov.za

Ms Zimasa Velaphi: Head of Communications
Cell: 072 172 8925 | Email: ZimasaV@dsac.gov.za

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