Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, has finished second runner-up in the Miss Universe contest held in Israel. The annual pageant was won by Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu, with Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira finishing as first runner-up.
South Africa’s government withdrew support for Ms Mswane in the contest, to protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, although organisers said the pageant should not be politicised.
The arts and culture ministry said that “the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented” and it could not “in good conscience associate itself with such”. Israel has in the past denied committing atrocities against Palestinians.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that Ms Mswane should have withdrawn for the sake of South Africa’s global standing.
The pageant has tweeted a video of the moment Miss South Africa was announced the second runner-up: