Local swimming row puts African Swimming Champs at risk

The African Swimming Champs is at risk as an administrative battle within the hosting federation rumbles on.

The diving pool and area between main pool still at the Mangaung Swimming Complex are still to be completed. Picture: Supplied.

A protracted battle between swimming clubs under the auspices of Free State Aquatics (FSA) and its current president Deon Dooling along with Swimming South Africa (SSA), has thrown the body into disarray with the hosting of next month's African Swimming Championships also uncertain.

The crisis was precipitated by a "vote of no confidence" in February by three clubs within the Mangaung district in Dooling's position as president of FSA. The clubs have accused him of nepotism and dishonesty, as he's alleged to have falsified times, and expressed concerns over the hosting of the continental event that's set to get underway on 15 October.

EWN Sport's e-mail sent to SSA CEO Shaun Adriaanse, SSA Vice-President Jace Naidoo and President Alan Fritz - no official response.

EWN Sport has in its possession numerous communications between the FSA clubs and SSA which has seen the number of clubs supporting the motion of no confidence in Dooling climb to eight.

The clubs in the Free State have accused SSA of protecting Dooling and delaying the constitutional process to remove the incumbent president.

A letter by FSA clubs complaining about the perceived lack of activity and contradictory deadlines imposed by SSA.

EWN Sport last week sent an e-mail to SSA CEO Shaun Adriannse containing 11 questions concerning the "vote of no confidence" which pertains to Dooling, as well as the readiness for the upcoming African Champs amongst a number of other allegations.

However, Adriaanse has failed to respond while newly elected SSA President Alan Fritz referred the questions back to Adriaanse.

SASCOC's response to FSA clubs when asked to intervene.

Dooling, along with Adriaanse, both serve on the Local Organizing Committee for the African Championships but when EWN Sport contacted Dooling to discuss the allegations swirling around him, he referred EWN Sport to SSA.

Adriaanse informs clubs that no FSA meetings can take place and assures clubs the sub-committee will provide clarity on the process.

The Free State Aquatics clubs indicate in their communication that they have exhausted all measures within their constitution and went as far as asking SASCOC to intervene in the matter. However, SASCOC responded, via CEO Tubby Reddy, stating that they have "engaged" with SSA who are "committed to resolving the issue without SASCOC intervention".

The back-and-forth communication between the parties has seen no resolution despite SSA promising to provide feedback on the Dooling matter in due course.

A letter to Dooling confirming he has been voted out by the FSA committee after failing to respond to deadline given.

Adriaanse also informed clubs of a SSA sub-committee that had been established and chaired by then Vice-President Alan Fritz, which met on 24 and 25 May to resolve the ongoing dispute around Dooling. A number of months have passed and the sub-committee has not yet presented any findings or resolved the matter despite Adriaanse committing to a speedy resolution.

Letter from then SSA President Jace Naidoo confirming seven FSA members has been suspended for allegedly transgressing SSA constitution.

The FSA committee notified Dooling on 19 July that he would be removed under paragraph eight of the constitution for "bringing the sport in disrepute" and provided him with a 14-day deadline to respond, which he did failed to do.

Subsequently, EWN Sport has learned that on 16 August, a letter sent by then SSA President Jace Naidoo notifying seven members of the FSA committee that they have been suspended for their attempts to remove Dooling from office.

Construction of the pool at Mangaung Swimming Complex remains ongoing with the African Championships starting 15 October.

EWN Sport has been sent pictures of the under construction Mangaung Swimming Complex which appears to be in a race against time to be completed ahead of it's 1 October deadline, with the Championships set to begin on 15 October.

The dive pool and area between main pool still to be completed.

Due to the fact that FSA is in administrative limbo, as they haven't been able to hold any meetings until the Dooling matter was settled, on 1 September an open letter written by concerned parents within Free State swimming aired their views on the ongoing confusion and lack of activity regarding Dooling's position and the concerns surrounding the looming African Swimming Championships.

An open letter penned by concerned parents in the Free State which accuses SSA of denying clubs due constitutional process.

One of the major concerns of that letter is the transparency over the funding for these championships, with it being alleged that SSA's stalling over the Dooling matter is related to this.

The open letter questions the financial transparency surrounding the African Swimming Championships, of which Dooling and Adriaanse form part of the LOC.