DURBAN - Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane was crowned second runner-up at the 70th Miss Universe pageant which was held in Eilat, Israel on Monday morning, this after the South African government had announced it would not support Mswane.
Several organisations also called for Mswane to withdraw from the pageant and supporters were asked to sign a petition demanding her to withdraw.
In the national costume competition on Friday, Mswane wore a white outfit by The Costume Department with white feathers symbolising a dove of peace.
After the pageant, Mswane said: “I am overwhelmed to have made it into the Top 3 of the competition. The whole experience has been beyond my wildest expectations. Congratulations to Harnaaz and Nadia and all the other contestants who made this journey so special. I am deeply thankful to all the amazing people who have supported and uplifted me.”
The IFP congratulated Mswane for her achievement.
“We would further like to applaud her symbolic costume choice in the national costume segment of the competition. Ms Mswane opted for a ‘Dove of Peace’ ensemble, which holds special significance not only for South Africa, but for the host country and the world at large,” said IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.
Meanwhile, in a parliamentary written response, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor said: “The government has indicated its views on the Miss Universe pageant and called on Miss South Africa to refrain from participating in the pageant. Miss South Africa has not agreed to the government’s proposal.”
The EFF’s Thembi Msane had asked Pandor what the government’s position is on South Africa being represented by Miss South Africa in an international event that will give credibility and acceptance among the community of nations to “the apartheid state of Israel”.
Msane also asked how the government’s policy positions on Israel align when she pledges solidarity with the Palestinian People in her statement on June 8, 2021, on Justice for the Palestinian People, and the government and others moved in October for the rescission of the AU’s decision to grant Israel observer status, while it permits Ms South Africa to attend the 70th Annual Miss Universe pageant to be held in Eilat, Israel.
Pandor said the South African government remained steadfast in its approach with regard to the Middle East Peace Process and its support for the State of Palestine. The establishment of a viable Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace with Israel within the internationally recognised borders which came into existence on June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters, remains a fundamental pillar of South Africa’s foreign policy.
“The commitment of solidarity with the Palestinian people made on June 8, 2021, as well as South Africa’s reaction to the granting of observer status to Israel by the AU, are testimony to the government’s efforts to bring Palestine back into the global mainstream,” Pandor said.