South African Government withdraws support for Miss SA Pageant

Media Statement


14 November 2021


South African Government withdraws support for Miss SA Pageant


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.”


Ms Masechaba Khumalo: Spokesperson (Minister)
Cell: 082 858 4415 | Email:


Ms Zimasa Velaphi: Head of Communications
Cell: 072 172 8925 | Email: