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Miss Universe: Brand SA says it cannot comment on Middle East conflict

Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane Moratwe Masima and Zimi Mabunzi. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane Moratwe Masima and Zimi Mabunzi. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 9, 2021

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Pretoria – Brand South Africa says while it cannot comment on the conflict in the Middle East, which has heightened calls for South Africans to show solidarity with Palestine by boycotting the Miss Universe event to be held in Israel this year, it fully supports government’s decision as pronounced by the department of international relations.

“Brand South Africa is aware of conversations in the news environment regarding Miss South Africa participating in the 70th Miss Universe competition which will be hosted in Israel,” it said.

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“As an apolitical organisation, Brand South Africa is not in a position to comment on matters relating to the conflict in the Middle East, suffice to say that the department of international relations and co-operation has already pronounced the government’s position on the matter regarding the importance of upholding the principles of self-determination and non-discrimination: Justice for the Palestinian People,” Brand SA said.

The South Africa government has issued numerous media statements, and government senior officials have made bold pronouncements strongly condemning the actions of the Israeli government, where casualties have been mostly innocent civilians, children, women and the elderly.

“The South African government remains unequivocally committed to and values efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN Resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters,” Brand SA says.

“To that extent, Brand SA supports the position of the government.”

Brand SA however said it acknowledges that Miss South Africa is a private entity with a right to conduct its business in line with its commercial mandate.

“Importantly, the Miss Universe Organisation is a global, inclusive organisation that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realise their goals through experiences that build self- confidence and create opportunities for success.”

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Following the crowning of Lalela Mswane, from Richards Bay as Miss South Africa 2021 in October, former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela urged South Africans to boycott the Miss Universe event to be held in Israel.

The 24-year-old ballerina and model became the 63rd Miss South Africa and is set to compete at the Miss Universe 2021 pageant in the Israeli resort city of Eilat in December.

“I intend to live by every word I have expressed and to serve, lead and represent our beautiful nation to the best of my abilities,” Mswane said after winning the competition.

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Meanwhile, Inkosi Mandela said in a press statement that he congratulates Mswane on her crowning.

However, after learning the location of the Miss Universe event, he called on her and all former Miss South Africa winners to boycott that event in protest at the “occupation and the cruel treatment of Palestinians at the hands of apartheid Israel regime”.

“There is nothing beautiful about occupation, brutality and institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people,” said Inkosi Mandela.

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