Jacques Pauw corrects 'mistakes' over his V&A Waterfront arrest: 'I feel embarrassed'

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Jacques Pauw.
Jacques Pauw.
Adrian de Kock
  • Last week, Jacques Pauw wrote a column published on Daily Maverick, recounting his experience at a V&A Waterfront restaurant. 
  • In the article, Pauw suggested police had roughed him up and stolen R1 000 from him.
  • Afterwards, he appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on charges of theft.

Investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw released a statement on Tuesday to correct "mistakes" he made in a Daily Maverick column.

In the column, he detailed what he claimed, at the time, was his wrongful arrest by police over a restaurant bill after dining at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

His statement comes after a first-person opinion piece - "I was stunned and dazed when pounced on by police, arrested, jailed and charged with theft" - was published on Daily Maverick on Friday.

READ | ShotSpotter project to curb gangsterism in Cape Town has been shelved

In the lengthy article, Pauw explained how he came to be arrested while walking to an ATM to withdraw money to settle a bill at an unnamed restaurant. He claimed he was forced to walk to the ATM to draw cash money as the R1 600 payment would not go through on his credit card.

He wrote that, while walking to the ATM, with the waiter close behind, three police officers "pounced on me, grabbed my arms and cuffed my hands tightly".

Pauw said the officers told him he was being arrested for theft after a complaint by the restaurant.

He then goes on to describe the ordeal, including how the officers took R1 000 he had on him at the time.

WATCH | Hawks raid Jacques Pauw's home

He appeared in court two days later.

But, on Tuesday, a day after meeting with management from the restaurant and the Waterfront, Pauw was forced to change his story, saying he made "mistakes" in his column.

"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," Pauw said in a statement.

Experience

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

He stated that he wrote the article as he was "emotional, angry and humiliated by the entire experience".

He said:

"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."

According to Pauw, the three policemen who arrested him were near the venue attending to an unrelated incident.

"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," he admitted.

Pauw withdrew his claim that the policemen stole his money, saying he was "only provided with the evidence on Monday".

"I apologise to the three policemen for having said this."

Theft

He said the restaurant owner had withdrawn the theft charge and that he had settled the bill on the Sunday before his court appearance.

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

READ | Pauw gives Rampedi 24-hour notice over 'molester' claim

"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. It is the right thing to do."

In an editorial note published by the Daily Maverick, they said they had interrogated some of the elements in Pauw's column and edited it where appropriate.

"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," said the Daily Maverick.

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