Investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw has apologised for accusing police officers of stealing his R1000 after his arrest on 6 February.
Pauw wrote an opinion piece in which he detailed his unlawful arrest and false theft charges at a restaurant at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
According to his piece, things went south after his R1600 food bill was brought to him and his bank card declined to pay.
He then offered to pay R1000 cash to the manager, which was also declined, as the manager demanded a full payment.
On his way to the ATM, along with the waiter who was serving him, three police officers confronted him and accused him of theft of R1600.
He was taken into custody and spent the night at the Table Bay police station.
When he was released from prison, Pauw alleged there was no sign of the R1000 he had in his pocket.
“There was no mention of the R1000 in cash I had in my pocket. The arresting officers must have stolen it, but I did not say anything then because I was scared,” he wrote.
‘My memory was blurred’
But it turns out his account of some of what happened that night is false and he has apologised.
In his apology, Pauw said he was detained overnight and released at noon the following day on a warning, and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on a charge of theft last Monday.
“I denied this charge at the time and still do. I maintain that my arrest and detention was unlawful.”
Following “reflection” and evidence which was presented to him, Pauw said he realised there were “errors” in the article.
“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 the 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.
While the column left the impression that the restaurant management or waiter had called the cops on him, Pauw said in his apology that the three police office who arrested him 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,” he said.
He further apologised for accusing the officers of taking his money.
“I have also now established that the police officers did not take the R1000 in cash I had with me. I apologise to the three policemen of having said this,” he said.
According to the author, the restaurant owner is busy withdrawing the charge of theft against him as the bill was settled the following day.
“I apologise to the restaurant, the V&A Waterfront and the police. 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.”
My statement and an apology about the events at the V&A Waterfront on 6 February 2021 pic.twitter.com/ufFUGNdAvf
— Jacques Pauw (@Jaqqs) February 16, 2021
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde