The Miss South Africa pageant has already been embroiled in controversy.

This after three potential contestants have been at the centre of public debate over allegedly racist and unpalatable remarks leading to the withdrawal of one hopeful. Entries for this year’s competition opened last week Monday.

Last year, Zozibini Tunzi won the annual competition before going on to win Miss Universe in Atlanta in the United States.

Despite a pandemic that has ground the world and many activities to a halt, organisers of the pageant are adamant that it will take place with potential candidates already sending their entries in hopes of becoming 2020’s Miss South Africa.

However, this has not come without its challenges. Users on Twitter have begun the work of the judges by eliminating three potential contestants before a panel of judges has been selected.

Under numerous hashtags on the social media platform, users have expressed their dissatisfaction with the hopefuls leading to the withdrawal of one.

Bianca Schoombee was the first to feel the wrath of displeased Twitter users over her alleged racist tweets from 2014.

The 21-year-old later withdrew her candidacy after the hashtag #BiancaMustFall.

The turn of events has given satirical comedian, Lesego Tlhabi also known as Coconut Kelz the opportunity to weigh in on the matter:

“How dare you? She was 14-years-old okay? 14! And everybody knows that racism is a side-effect of white beauty. The problem isn’t even so-called racist tweets. It’s actually the digging up, the excavation of old tweets. I mean are you an archaeologist? Are you, are you Homo Naledi?”

Two more hopefuls also had hashtags under their names. 27-year-old Onieda Cooper for allegedly using a derogatory remark when referring to black people and Zizile Mthembu for unpalatable remarks to some social media users.

Chief Executive Officer of the pageant, Stephanie Weil, has given assurance that all potential contestants go through a vetting process.

“There’s a certain process that we go through to ensure that the contestant meets our values and there’s a whole ream of that on our eligibility, ensuring that the girl who enters does not in any way bring the organisation into disrepute or the contestant who makes it through to the semi-finals doesn’t bring the organisation into disrepute. That’s why we do dig files to ensure that everything is truthful and we understand exactly who is going to be representing young women in this country,” says Weil.

Some South Africans have shared what they look for in the next Miss South Africa.

“I feel like as much as Miss South Africa is a beauty pageant, it is still very much about character. So the things you say or the things that you have said are a representation of you and your brand. So if you’re able to make a derogatory statement then that speaks about you as a person. You need to be someone who shares the same values as other women. And even if you don’t share the same values as other women, they should be able to take some of your values or some of the things that you say and grow from them.”

“I have not been following the Miss South Africa pageant for a very long time but I have since it has been popularised by Miss Zozibini Tunzi. I think whoever takes after her really needs to come to the party in terms of what they instill as well. I’m not someone who, for example, would identify with the likes of Bianca who has been accused of being racist in the past, neither would I identify with her because of her body shaming and the likes.”

Entries for the pageant will close on the 31st of May.

In this video, Miss SA CEO Stephanie Weil discusses some criteria for entry