Journalist and author Jacques Pauw at the Cape Town launch of his book, The President's Keepers. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Journalist and author Jacques Pauw at the Cape Town launch of his book, The President's Keepers. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Public turns on Jacques Pauw over column peddling lies about V&A Waterfront arrest

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

Share this article:

Jacques Pauw has apologised and blamed intoxication and embarrassment for false allegations he made about his arrest at a V&A Waterfront restaurant recently, but social media users aren’t buying his apology.

Pauw, who is the author of The President’s Keepers, last week alleged in a column in the Daily Maverick that the restaurant had refused to allow him alternative means to settle his R1 600 bill after his credit card bounced several times while attempting pay, and intimated that it had instead called the police to arrest him while walking to an ATM.

He further alleged that the police had stolen his cash, before detaining him overnight and charging him with theft.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pauw backtracked on his original version and pointed out that he had wrongly created an impression that the restaurant’s management or the waiter who had served him had called the police to have him arrested, while he was the one who had misbehaved and had been intoxicated.

He said he had written the column after appearing before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on a charge of theft, which he said he still disputed.

“I wrote the article because I was emotional, angry, and humiliated by the entire experience,” Pauw said.

He said he had since realised “that there are errors in the article” after reflection and upon additional evidence.

“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 apologise for my behaviour,” he said.

On Tuesday, many well known journalists and social commentators slammed Pauw’s actions as a reflection of the privilege that comes with being a white male in South Africa and called on the Daily Maverick not to publish any more of his work.

In his column, Pauw had detailed how the cops, who he had described as “rogue elements within the SAPS”, had supposedly taken R1 000 from him during his arrest and failed to return it.

In his statement on Tuesday, Pauw indicated that the three policemen who had arrested him had not been called and that they were near the venue after attending to an unrelated incident, and that they had 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 established that the police officers did not take the R1 000 in cash I had with me. I was only provided with evidence on Monday,” he said.

He indicated that the restaurant owner was currently busy withdrawing the theft charge as he had paid his bill the following day.

“I feel embarrassed about my conduct. In this era of fake news, propaganda and lack of accountability, I must publicly accept responsibility. I must apologise for them,” he said.

[email protected]

Political Bureau

Share this article:

Related Articles