The African National Congress (ANC) has expressed its support for Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s decision to withdraw Miss South Africa from competing in the Miss Universe pageant in apartheid Israel.
The ANC national spokesperson, Pule Mabe, said the ruling party stands firmly behind the government’s decision and Minister Mthethwa.
“We are also calling on Nine-Squared, which owns the Miss South Africa organisation, to listen and act upon the overwhelming pressure calling for the Miss South Africa team to boycott the upcoming Miss Universe competition in apartheid Israel,” said Mabe.
In a statement on November 9, Miss South Africa Organization Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Weil, said Lalela Mswane would compete at the Miss Universe competition in the picturesque Israeli resort town of Eilat on December 13.
Weil hailed Lalela as a shining beacon, showing young women that it is perfectly possible to be beautiful, intelligent, and educated.
Anyone who attempts to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is being unkind and shortsighted. We are not a political organization. “The Miss Universe pageant is not a political event,” added Weil.
Mabe said Weil would be betraying the South African people by insisting on participating in Israel.
“We believe Miss SA’s organization should give Lalela thoughtful advice and support, since the damage to her reputation of going to Israel may exceed any glamour that may arise.”
Mabe stated that since Msawne is the face of a brand Nines-Squared owns, she will be blamed if the Miss SA Organisation proceeds and participates in the pageant.
“Israel’s racism, human rights violations, illegal settlements, ongoing occupation, and apartheid laws are well documented and should be compelling enough to motivate you to withdraw.” said Mabe.
He said this horrible history of racism of the Miss SA “trademark” makes the boycott of this year’s Miss Universe even more important and necessary.
According to Mabe, countries and organizations whose contestants will participate in the pageant “sacrifice for freedom.”
In recent videos, Mabe said comrade Lesiba Machaba, a senior South African diplomat based in Ramallah, was assaulted and disrespected by Israeli police, who would not allow Palestinians to pick olives.
Mabe said the South African government continues to demonstrate its commitment to supporting this crucial decision to boycott the pageant.
“We remember how black South Africans were not allowed to participate in Miss South Africa competitions, but instead had to participate in Miss World pageants under the title “Miss Africa South,” said Mabe.