Defend Truth


Statement regarding my arrest and detention at V&A Waterfront


This is a statement to correct my version of a column published in Daily Maverick last week regarding my arrest and detention at the V&A Waterfront on 6 February, 2021. It is also an apology to all involved.

A note from Daily Maverick Editor: Last week Friday Daily Maverick published an opinion column by investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw after he alerted us to his arrest at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. We did so after contacting both the unnamed restaurant involved as well as the police and the V&A Waterfront offering them an opportunity to comment. The restaurant declined to speak to Daily Maverick on the record. Requests for CCTV footage were also declined. We published the comments we did obtain from SAPS and Waterfront as footnotes. We took these steps because Pauw’s column made serious allegations around his arrest, including that the police had stolen cash he had on him and that the restaurant had refused any alternative efforts to settle the bill. We informed the restaurant that we would be publishing Pauw’s column and it was in their interests to give their version of events.

Prior to publication, Daily Maverick interrogated some of the elements in Pauw’s column with him and edited it accordingly where appropriate. Although Pauw admitted he had been drinking, he assured Daily Maverick his version was correct and he pointed to the waiter’s statement to police as corroboration. Once published, we continued our investigation and obtained the CCTV footage.

Pauw issued a statement on Tuesday after meeting with the restaurant and V&A Waterfront management on Monday.

We are publishing Pauw’s latest version of events and apology as a matter of urgency,  to put the record straight. We undertake to continue our investigation and update readers if there are any further developments or findings that are at variance with Pauw’s statement.

Given the factual inaccuracies in the original column, Daily Maverick has unpublished the piece.

Pauw’s statement follows:

I wish to correct the mistakes I made in a Daily Maverick column, “I was stunned and dazed when pounced on by police, arrested, jailed and charged with theft”, that appeared last Friday.

I also need to apologise for my actions when I was arrested at the V&A Waterfront on 6 February 2021. I was detained overnight and released at noon the following day on a warning.

On Monday, 8 February 2021, I appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on a charge of theft. I denied this charge at the time, and still do. I maintain that my arrest and detention was unlawful.

On the Wednesday following my court appearance, I wrote a column for Daily Maverick in which I related my experience as I recalled it.

I wrote the column because I was emotional, angry, and humiliated by the entire experience.

The column was published on Friday afternoon.

Upon reflection and additional evidence provided to me, I have realised that there are errors in the column. I now wish to set the record straight.

I had too much to drink in the restaurant and my memory was blurred. The ordeal of the experience of the arrest and having to spend the night in jail compounded my emotional state.

I had a meeting with the restaurant owner and a conversation with a V&A executive this Monday. They showed and explained certain facts to me. I misbehaved and I wish to apologize for my behaviour.

The column in the Daily Maverick created the impression that either the restaurant management, or the waiter that served me, or the V&A Waterfront made a call to the police to have me arrested. It turns out this did not happen. Neither the restaurant nor the Waterfront made any such calls and played no role in my arrest.

The three policemen who arrested me were already at, or near, the venue after attending to an unrelated incident.

They enquired what was going on. In the heat of the moment, I lost my cool and I acted in an impolite manner. My own action played a role in getting me arrested and detained.

I have also now established that the police officers did not take the R1,000 in cash I had with me. I was only provided with the evidence on Monday. I apologise to the three policemen for having said this.

The restaurant owner is busy withdrawing the charge of theft against me as there is no dispute between us. The outstanding bill was paid the Sunday morning prior to my appearance at court as I explained in the column

I must therefore appeal to the public that any backlash against the V&A Waterfront and its restaurants stop. Neither the restaurant nor the V&A Waterfront played any role in my arrest and detention.

I apologise to the restaurant, the V&A Waterfront and the police.

The V&A Waterfront has done much to protect their small and medium-sized businesses – including restaurants – during Covid and subsequent lockdowns, and therefore the organisation is undeserving of the criticism and attacks levelled at them because of my column.

I feel embarrassed about my conduct. In this era of fake news, propaganda and lack of accountability, I must publicly accept responsibility for my own actions and apologise for them. It is the right thing to do.

I also apologise to Daily Maverick readers and its editor for the wrong account of events in the opinion piece.   DM





Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 51

  • And there you have it … Thank you JP for setting the record straight. That takes a man on a horse. (Something that cr and the rest of the anc should learn to do, but never will.)

  • Mmmmm… what an about-turn!!! So, one tipsy journalist can upset so many?? S’ppose the truth is somewhere in-between, unless the author was Hemingway 😉

  • I now also feel just like Mr. Pauw – angry and humiliated. He wrote his piece after the fact when his memory was not blurred. The excuse of being intoxicated and his resulting blurry mind is rather lame.
    A public apology will not restore the level of the credibility he enjoyed prior to the incident. So sad. One cannot help to wonder what else Mr. Pauw has to apologise about.

  • I am not impressed. Nearly a week had past between Pauw’s claims and the publication of the article. He had enough time to withdraw his statements. Being drunk is not an apology for killing someone, neither should it be an apology for spreading falsehoods.

    • Go take a look at youself in the mirror. Not everybody is Mother Theresa, make sure you yourself is above reproach in your life. Did you ever have egg on your face in your whole life, have you been drunk, have you ever told a lie, did you retract it and come out with the truth. He apologised, life goes on. Tomorrow everybody is moaning about something new. I would like to meet perfect humans, unfortunately ive never met one. We dont own Jaques Pauw, he made a mistake. He owned up. That settles it for me, at least he’s human🤣

      • Why did he feel he needed to get this published on DM. If he did this on his own social media account so be it. He has wasted peoples time and energy and diminished the DM’s credibility. I’m sure you’re not so generous with Zuma et al.

      • You must a loot of dirt on your own stick . This was more than just a little lie. And for owning up, he did have no choice. After having gone public with his lie, the truth would have come out, owning up or not.

      • I’m not impressed with their behaviour, the law will take its course in any and every situation and sometimes it doesnt, meanwhile I have a life to live, guess I dont kick a dog when he’s down, or maybe I forgive easier, to each his own. I am happy with Mr Pauw’s apology and have moved on, it’s not like he stole millions.

    • So you discount the credibility of an entire publication, due to the printing of one opinion article by a journalist widely considered to be among the best in the country, simply because he got too emotional, had a bit too much to drink and saw things a bit differently to how they actually were.
      I’m quite surprised that it took this piece to make you feel this way – surely Jessie Duarte’s diatribe against the Zondo Commission last week would’ve been more than enough for you to fell the DM was discredited: unless, of course it’s because her article – like this one – was not a NEWS story, but rather an OPINION piece – that is, after all, why they are marked under the banner ‘Opinionista’!…

    • Really? One opinion column followed by a self-correction by the author admitting fault is enough to destroy the reputation of the DM? …Weird.

  • This man has lost much respect and credibility. It serms he only came forward to apologize once he was confronted with hard evidence of his bad behavior he was trying to hide.

  • Dear Mr Pauw, thank you for your courage and honesty. Thanks too to DM for staying balanced in all this.
    I shall look forward to more pieces from you

  • Jacques, please get help. You are too good at what you do to not get help. SA needs good investigative journalists. You are one of them. Sober-up, get help and do what you do best, soberly. Best wishes.

      • I am sad that this has happened but huge respect for the apology. I agree with Jan and the others, we cannot afford to lose you. I love your work!
        Just find it bizarre that people are now questioning DM’s editorial policy and ethics because of this. They did the right thing by investigating further and publishing an apology. They could have kept quiet and swept it under the carpet. DM keep up the good work!

  • This is all very confusing now. He was arrested at the ATM by the police because he became belligerent with them, but someone laid a charge of theft. So what was it? Drunken misbehaving or theft. R1000 apparently went missing, but now it was not the police, so who was it or was there no R1000 in the first place. His original statement was wrong, but still maintains his arrest and detention was unlawful. Something Stinks in the State of Denmark.

  • Jacques, I have an incredible high regard for you. A celebrity! You have made a mistake, and apologised for that. I appreciate it. But that does not make you an angel. Many readers were shocked by your article. But tell me, surely you were sober by the time you wrote the article on DM. So why wrote it? Are you just another person attention-seeking-crazy? Has the success of your book made you power-hungry? Can I believe anything you write or say ever again? I am deeply, very deeply, disappointed. To your credit, you have apologised, but you will have to suffer the consequences

  • When I read Mr Pauw’s account of events last week, I did doubt his version of the story and said as much. I was also very much surprised at how many people came up with “conspiracy theories” in support of Mr Pauw’s narrative.
    As to the credibility of DM, this publication did mention at the end of last week’s article that they are still doing further investigation. I really don’t think this sordid behaviour of Mr Pauw will make a dent in DM’s credibility.

  • If only more people could admit “I screwed up, sorry” I don’t get the attacks on him. When is the last time you took out a full-page apology – or you probably never screwed up???

  • When you make such serious mistake – seriously consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous. It only gets worse if you stop on your own and reman miserable because of fear. AA works.

  • While it’s understandable that people want to extrapolate Pauw’s misreporting of an event involving him personally and directly all the way out to a general mendacity in, or at least dubiousness of, his other accounts and narratives, further impartial reflection should dispel such notions something sharpish. After all, the specific incident in question involved Pauw himself in a significantly stressful and disturbing way, so subjectivity, even after the fact, is entirely understandable. Moreover, it takes a distinctly fervid leap of faith to infer that all Pauw’s other work, as well-substantiated as it usually is, immediately becomes questionable as well, most especially in view of the fact that in those other cases, he’s about as close to an impartial observer as it is possible to. Making such a ludicrous inference would be a clear case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, tub too.

    In any case and direct personal involvement aside, Pauw had the vertebrate rigidity, so sorely lacking in virtually all of our public officials and politicians, to come clean, openly, voluntarily, and publicly. Had he not, the naysayers wouldn’t at this point have a grumble in the first place.

  • I haven’t noticed so many trolls on DM before. Looks like many people are quite happy to have seen Mr Pauw slip. Now there’s a surprise. I guess if Magashule won’t face Pauw in court the best he can do is try and sway the court of public opinion with the help of a few clowns.

  • Jacques, Bacchus is a sneaky fellow. He dupes you into believing he is your best friend, then he gives you a snotklap. Give him the boot. Experience real freedom. (This is not Pollyanna speaking.)

  • Apology accepted. A hard thing to do, but the right thing. Thank you DM for putting the record straight. We actually don’t need all the embarrassing details to understand the big picture. Let’s move on.

  • Pretty shocking that JP gets his original article rushed through into publication, when so many real issues don’t see the light of day. A wake up call DM – we don’t expect to read drunken trash here.

  • Shame JP. First you behave badly at the restaurant. Then you take advantage of your privileged position at DM and break trust with your editor by publishing a fairy tale account of your night on the tiles. You now follow up with this piece that, apart from the apologies, does not ring true as an account of what happened.
    Please stop digging JP – you are making it worse.

  • I don’t think we’ve heard the truth yet. In his first article Pauw says the police accused him of stealing R1600. How would they know unless the restaurant contacted them – either the waiter following him, or the restaurant would have had to have told them. Irrespective, this most recent explanation still smells like a cover up. Going forward, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read another article under Pauw’s byline without wondering if he has some undeclared personal angle on his reporting – damage that is very hard to undo. Furthermore, abusing his privileged connection to the Daily Maverick as a tool to promote his personal grievance is completely unacceptable. And the team at the Maverick are not without culpability – they should have smelled a rat (sifting the news for true stories is what they do after all). I’m seriously toying with taking my monthly subscription to another news service.

  • I believe this should be the last piece Jacques should be writing for DM. He shouldn’t have a platform if he’s shown to be so irresponsible with it. DM, how do I trust your editorial process after this? I understand the notes here etc. and I think you need more than just “we tried to check the sources.” I may be wrong but an editor of a paper should have a nose for bullshit and I can’t believe someone didn’t smell something off with the first account. If you are having trouble with how this should be dealt with, imagine he was a black woman who did this instead of a white male. His privilege is showing and so is your bias. Fix this, for your own sake.

    • p.s. my membership, however small, is paused until I see some real response that would make me feel comfortable continuing to support DM.

  • Speaking as a hotel and restaurant owner, this form of one sided “published tirade” is not limited to Daily Maverick. Trip Advisor, and Agoda are accessories in far worse behaviour than this where they never bother to check the authenticity of vindictive, libellous and destructive representations that are neither made accurately, fairly or honestly. Well done to Daily Maverick for its research and investigation and correction of an abuse of its platform – hopefully it was voluntary and not a consequence of the restaurant and the Waterfront having to demand a retraction. Pauw has unfortunately destroyed his own credibility and merely become the same as those demanding a free weekend in my hotel in return for not posting a bad report on Simply put, his behaviour was vengeful slander, blackmail or at the very least intended as emotional blackmail. All are unacceptable but totally prevalent in the era of social media and the unchecked and unhindered abuse and defamation of innocent parties….the law offers no protection and the findings of the Zondo commission and the verdict of the US Senate show that the rot is systemic, pervasive and goes all the way to the top… Whilst we can no longer rely upon the authenticity of Pauw’s utterances, we sincerely hope that we will be able to rely upon the credibility of the rest of the Daily Maverick’s representations.

  • That is admirable, Jaques. Everyone knows that behaviour changes if you have a lot to drink. Please forgive yourself and be kind to yourself.

    • The best part of this story and DM response has been Jacques apology and remorse. Stuff like this happens, our pride is wounded and we mess up. It takes a brave man to see the truth and own up.
      The worst part of the article is DM”S Editor’s statement: “PS: Jacques Pauw will no longer be part of Daily Maverick’s team of contributors.” Just above this statement you asked us to forgive your part in the matter, but there is no apparent forgiveness from your side. I am not impressed! Tell him he’s off for while, but a life ban?? Why should I be denied his excellent contributions for ever more? You don’t encourage others to do the same and do not impress with this holier than thou response. Come on Editor.

  • Give Jacques a break. You self righteous little people who are getting your knickers in a knot need to get a life. Which planet do you come from?

  • Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted