Miss SA body stays silent as questions remain over Lalela's attendance at Miss Universe pageant in Israel
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Cape Town - The Miss South Africa Organisation has chosen to stay mum on whether it will be going ahead with sending Miss SA Lalela Mswane to Israel to compete for the Miss Universe title amid growing calls for it to withdraw.
Following the Department of Arts and Culture’s decision to withdraw its support for Mswane, as well as mixed reactions by political organisations and civil society organisations, the Miss SA organisation is standing firm for Mswane to continue with plans to go to Israel.
In a brief comment sent to the Cape Argus, the organisation said that it would not comment at this stage on whether or not it would be withdrawing or going ahead and participating in the pageant.
Over the weekend, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthetwa announced the department’s decision to withdraw its support for Mswane should she go ahead and participate in the pageant, to the delight of some organisations and the chagrin of others.
The decision by Mthethwa was welcomed by non-government organisations Africa4Palestine, the ANC and Cosatu among others.
Cosatu international relations secretary Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni said: “We commend the South African government for heeding the call of millions of South Africans, calling for Miss South Africa to boycott/withdraw from the Miss Universe pageant taking place on the ruins of the ethnically cleansed village of Um Al-Rashrash in apartheid Israel.
“Cosatu condemns the relentless violations of human rights in Palestine, and we are gravely outraged by the Miss SA company’s blatant disregard of the country’s political stance.”
Cosatu also stated that it had joined the pro-Palestine progressive forces in calling on the SABC not to air the Miss Universe Pageant on the television platform.
However, the decision for the government to withdraw its support for Mswane was not welcomed by the Freedom Front Plus, who accused the government of destroying Mswane’s hopes and dreams without care, and playing selective political interference.”
FF+ international relations and co-operation spokesperson Corné Mulder said: “The South African
Department of Arts, Culture and Sports has turned its back on Mswane by saying that the government has withdrawn its support for her to represent South Africa in the Miss Universe pageant due to Israel's ‘atrocities and racism’ against Palestinians.
“This is ironic, seeing as Mswane herself has already indicated that in her year as Miss South Africa she plans to address one of the social evils that the ANC government created in her own country, namely unemployment and the consequent poverty, desperation and crime.
“The ANC is conveniently forgetting that it has also institutionalised racism in South Africa in the form of affirmative action and black economic empowerment, and that it has also committed various atrocities against its people.
“South Africa's foreign policy towards Israel is out of touch with reality and archaic. We are, therefore, calling on the country's leading companies and the public to show their support for Mswane and her participation in the competition,” said Mulder.