The South African government has withdrawn its support for the Miss SA pageant after unsuccessful talks with the Miss SA pageant organisers.
This comes after outrage for staging the Miss Universe pageant in Israel in December.
The withdrawal follows talks between the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and the pageant's organisers.
Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane will represent South Africa at the Miss Universe competition, held this year in Eilat, Israel, on December 13.
“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,” the government said in a statement.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Israel was guilty of the apartheid treatment of Palestinians.
“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.”
The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally and that not withdrawing can prove disastrous to her future and public standing “as a young, black woman.”
Earlier this week, Miss South Africa said in a statement that the organisation and The Miss Universe pageant is not a politically inspired event.
Miss South Africa Organisation CEO Stephanie Weil said Mswane will be a role model to young women in South Africa and Africa.
“Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted. She is the shining beacon for young women everywhere, showing them that being beautiful while being clever and educated is very possible.”