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Given the factual inaccuracies in the original column, Daily Maverick has unpublished the piece.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