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Durban - A young Durban fisherman who believes he was passed over for the provincial angling team is going to court over what he believes was an unfair selection process.
Ralden Naicker, of Sharkfin Angling, believes that a white angler, who happens to be the son of a former top official of the KwaZulu-Natal Coast Anglers Union (KZNCAU), was unfairly selected over him.
His getting a coveted spot in the team was not because of ability, Naicker claimed, but because of his father’s influence over the selectors.
“I know that I will not make the under-21 team again but I am doing this because of the nepotism that is going on in the union. It is not about how good you are but who you know,” Naicker said on Monday.
“I want to make sure that this does not happen again and that you can be a good black fisherman and be selected. After not being selected for the under-16 team, I worked really hard to get into the under-21 team.”
He said he lost all hope when he was overlooked.
Naicker wants the court to set aside the selection, as a “point of honour”.
He claims the angler was chosen to represent the province’s under-21 team despite not fishing competitively for three years, whereas Naicker had been ranked third in the province.
In papers filed in the Durban High Court, which is scheduled to hear the matter on November 19, Naicker said his ranking was based on overall assessment over a three-year period. He was placed 22nd out of 77 competitors at a national development tournament, he said, describing the decision not to select him for the provincial team as “erroneous”.
Naicker said he had referred the matter to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, which referred it back to the union without success.
He said he was left with no option but to go to court because his non-selection was “not justifiable” and went against the constitution.
KZNCAU’s president, Corrie Groenewald, referred questions from the Daily News to its attorneys, who forwarded the union’s replying affidavit.
In it, the union said Naicker’s application was “nonsensical” and would have no practical effect. The union argues that Naicker has not put forward any facts or conclusion of law that would justify the court interfering with selection of the KZN provincial team.
“The applicant’s case appears to be that because he has had some success as an angler over a period of time, he is entitled as of right to a place in the team and that he was excluded from the team. The correct position is that he put himself forward to be chosen as a member of a representative team and was not chosen to represent the team,” the union said.
“He could not have been excluded from a team of which he was never part, nor of which he did not have a right to be part of.”
The union argues that the father of the successful candidate had stood down from the panel when it came to selecting a team, as done in the past. In its court papers, the union said the amount of time a junior angler spends at fishing competitions was not a major criterion as many were pupils and involved in school sports.
“This means that some juniors are able to fish every competition while others are not.
“The selection committee mandate is to choose the best anglers to represent the respondent (union) in order to win interprovincial tournaments, no more, no less,” it said.
The issue came to a boil after months of simmering tension between Sharkfin club and KZNCAU, who have held meetings to try to resolve it.
At the centre of the dispute was the inclusion of the white angler into the team after the provincial trials were held in July 2012 at Umkomaas Beach.
Naicker’s club, in a letter to the KZNCAU, called the selection severely flawed.
In addition, they argue the angler had only ever caught “one fish since 2008”, had not attended any junior trials, yet made it into the provincial team.
Keith Mudray, captain of the Sharkfin club, said the incident reeked of blatant racism.
“It is about race,” he said.
“If you are not the right colour you are overlooked. The second part of it is that if you are not in a certain clique you will also be overlooked.
“Since Ralden was 16 he has won a number of fishing awards by the very same union who when we confronted them about his non-selection, told us he was one of those that ‘slipped through the net’.
“How could he slip through the net when they were giving him all the awards over the years and yet when it came for selection they did not know who he was?”