2020: I win a press ombudsman complaint against Daily Maverick

A report surfaced in 2020, named the De Kock report, falsely stating that I had refused to sign my MLA translated statement issued in 2018 and as a result, my signature was superimposed onto my translation.This is false as my statement was signed in the presence of a Greek magistrate, as the law stipulates (Email), in the native language of the country that the statement is obtained. The statement then returned to South Africa via the official channels and the South African justice department proceeded with an official translation.

When I was asked via an email to have a look out of courtesy at the translation, I merely pointed out three errors in the translation. At no time was I asked to sign the translated version of my statement, neither did I refuse to do so.

On 5 August 2020 an article about the De Kock report was published within Daily Maverick. The article once again attacked my name and character, that was based on fabricated repeated accusations in South Africa. I was once again never given the right to a reply. I complained to the Press Ombudsman in South Africa and after a hearing I won an apology and a reply linked to the original article.

The journalist responsible for this article was Jacques Pauw, a person of questionable ethics and with a known drinking problem amongst others. Pauw launched a character assassination against me, using his considerable power of the pen. He did so by repeating the very same lies that Johan Booysen had spread eight years earlier. Once more I was never contacted for comment, neither was I given the right of reply – behaviour typical of the captured South African media. This time I was prepared and had no need to keep a low profile, as I had previously been advised to do by the South African NPA while their criminal case against Booysen was pending. After the case was withdrawn, I could defend myself against fake news publications in South Africa. Incidentally, with some notable exceptions, it was only the South African media that was compromised and captured. Thankfully this was not the case with overseas journalists whose unbiased approach and neutral investigative skills were demonstrated here:.

South Africa: Echoes of Apartheid

South African cop escapes to Greece after blowing whistle on police brutality

South African Cop Death Squad Whistleblower Lands Back in Greece

Ari Danikas Whistleblower of the week

The press hearing took place on 21 January 2021

What happened to me that day was unprecedented for the standards of the South African press Ombudsman’s office.

History :
I decided to open a press Ombudsman complaint against Jacques Pauw and Daily Maverick on the 13/08/2020.

I won the right to an apology and the right of a reply. However, I found the chair of the press council Pippa Green unprofessional and biased towards Jacques Pauw.

Here are the details of my complaint as well as a video of the hearing.

For starters it took nearly four months to get a reply from Jacques Pauw. He received preferential treatment as the rules clearly state that he needed to respond within 15 days. What Jacques Pauw did in the meantime was as unethical as his own personality is. He went on a witch hunt campaign against me, in a desperate attempt to further character assassinate me. Instead of responding with evidence in support of his claims, he contacted my allies, co-workers and NGOs I associate with and addressed them in a way that he not only he embarrassed himself further, but he actually strengthened my case against him.

This is the email he sent to some of my colleagues and close associated including CIA whistleblower John Kyriakou.

This is my correspondence to The Press Ombudsman’s office regarding Jaques Pauw’s unethical practices to further discredit me after my complaint.

Kyriakou considered Pauw’s actions unethical and unprofessional. He told me he wants nothing more to do with Pauw.

Furthermore, Blueprint responded directly to the ombudsman, verifying my collaboration with them, emphasizing how helpful it was in advancing whistleblowing protection. Blueprint also verified that I had received a Special Recognition award from the NGO after they sent an expert to Greece to interview me and sent another expert to South Africa to interview people there. Transparency international didn’t even bother to engage with Pauw. Yet Pippa Green, the chair of the press ombudsman, conveniently left this crucial evidence out of her long explanation of the hearing process on the ombudsman’s website.

Pauw tried to play dirty and divert attention from the facts with information irrelevant to the case in order to paint a negative picture of me. Regrettably the chair allowed for such unfair behaviour. Pauw’s famous start of the hearing was ”


Let me first tell you who Aris Danikas is…

Thankfully one of the panelists, Joe Thloloe, stopped Pauw and criticised him for not following the rules of engagement. I also objected. Pauw has never met me, never engaged with me prior to the hearing nor publication of his article and yet he had the audacity to try and describe my character to the panel.

Jacques Pauw desperately tried to divert attention from the facts, steering the conversation to my qualifications and the type of collaboration I have with major NGOS.

Pippa Green, allowed for a further smear campaign against me, as I was instructed by her office to ignore Pauw’s personal attacks on my character that were unrelated to my complaint against the article and I complied. However, in her summary of her case, Pippa very conveniently repeated Pauw’s false allegations and attacks against me but without including my responses that I had supplied to her. In effect, she allowed Pauw to smear me again, and robbed me of my right to reply.

In fact Pippa Green personally wrote to me reassuring me that : “The hearing will stick to what is in the article and the basis of your complaint. We will not permit it to stray into other areas that are not relevant to either the article of the complaint“. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Reference : instructions from the ombudsman office


Please only respond to Mr Pauw’s document and specifically his answers to your complaints about certain statements in the article complained about. Gen Booysen’s affidavit is only relevant insofar Mr Pauw refers to it in his response to your specific complaints.

Although, Pippa allowed Booysen to appear as a “witness” for Daily Maverick and Jacques Pauw, she delayed revealing Booysen’s identity, and only released it to me, on the 17th December 2020, just a day before the proposed hearing.

She in fact allowed Booysen to dominate and bully the hearing. At one point he was even allowed to DICTATE the terms of the apology by Daily Maverick!

To try to defend his story against my complaint, Jacques Pauw asked Booysen to supply the press Ombudsman with a post-dated affidavit to support his story. In this affidavit, Booysen repeated many lies and fabrications about me without providing any evidence. In essence Booysen committed perjury once more and Jacques Pauw relied on an investment in Booysen’s reputation to support his claims against me! It was proven during the hearing by Booysen’s own confession that the only source of the false allegations against me in Pauw’s article was in fact Booysen himself! So, one has to wonder why will a prominent and veteran journalist such as Jacques Pauw ignore basic journalistic rules and rely only on a single source to write his story? Well, he as many others in SA had invested in the reputation of Booysen, published books praising him as a hero, and they could not go back. That is their biggest downfall.

It is worth mentioning that Johan Booysen lied in his Affidavit to the Ombudsman by claiming that he had no ways of contacting me. In fact I have evidence that he obtained my new secret email address from a Greek/South African doctor back in 2012 without my permission. He also obtained my Greek cellphones number and tried to call me in 12-10-2016, a few days prior to signing the MLA statement in Greece. Here is the email correspondence between me and the Greek doctor, where I complaIn to him for leaking my email address to Booysen. This was also confirmed by Tilly Brown in an email to me. Here is a screenshot of Booysen calling me.

A few days after the hearing Johan Booysen conveniently alleged that he became the victim of what he said was a failed assassination attempt when two men accosted him outside his residential complex. One of the men pointed a gun at him and Booysen alleged that he pulled the trigger but the gun failed to go off. The following day, after video footage of the incident was released, Booysen was forced to change his story and admit it could have been a failed hijacking. I believe Booysen staged the whole thing himself.

You can see a video of the incident here and judge for yourselves.

Just the following week Jacques Pauw was arrested in the Cape Town waterfront, intoxicated and while in the company of a “young” female.
Pauw spent the weekend in jail and out of rage he once more did what he does best, using the power of his pen to attack and damage the reputation of others with fake news. However, this time there were witnesses and video surveillance. When he was confronted with the video evidence, Pauw was forced to change his story just like Booysen had done previously. Daily Maverick had had enough of his bullshit and fired Pauw.

You can read all about it here:

Jacques Pauw Affair: The Story, The Facts, The Fallout and The Future

Editor’s note on retracted Jacques Pauw column about his arrest at the V&A Waterfront, and an apology to our readers

John Clarke makes a very accurate and detailed analysis here

It is worth mentioning that Pauw’s defence at the press ombudsman hearing was that the rumours against me were “widely published” by the media and there was a statement by Booysen confirming them, and therefore it was legitimate for him to publish these rumours.  Using the same logic, newspapers would be justified in publishing the claim made in an affidavit by a witness at the Zondo Commission that Pauw had engaged in illegal activities.

Here is a copy of the statement. On Page 11 Clause 7.3.

The way that Pauw and certain journalists in South Africa acted, shows them to be biased, and unwilling to recognise and rectify their mistakes, especially  regarding whistleblowers who might introduce a different narrative to theirs.

Journalists need to maintain a neutral approach, non-biased and reflect the views of all parties involved. Most importantly, whistleblowers need to feel safe, as well as protected sources to the journalists covering their story.

I consider myself a case study in South Africa of how NOT to treat a whistleblower both by the media and the judicial authority. Mistakes were made, but will lessons be learned? The sad part is that the journalists mentioned above, including Jessica Pitchford, Jacques Pauw and Anton Harber, are not willing to rectify their mistakes, retract and apologise to me. Their careers, reputation, ego, and financial gain takes precedence over the truth. But at what cost?

The Cato Manor Death Squad was real. The racist “blue eye boys of the SAPS” were real. The black mamba unit, as they used to be called by terrified Africans, was real. The victims and their families in KwaZulu-Natal need closure and justice to be served and their government, judiciary, media, and society let them down. I hear from many that the South African society is not yet ready to face the truth! If we do not face the truth of our history, we will never progress as a free and democratic nation.

The books :

-Jacques Pauw wrote a book about the State Capture in SA.
-Anton Harber also wrote a book.
-So did Jessica Pitchford.

There is a lobby group of prominent South African white journalists / authors with a certain biased narrative, as well as compromised professional relationships with the corrupted police officers I blew the whistle on. This is clearly evident as I have proved above, since all of them violated a fundamental rule of journalism and deliberately chose not to give me a right of reply when they character assassinated me, a Whistleblower, with a different narrative to theirs.

As Joe Thloloe, a legendary journalist in South Africa said during the press hearing:


Always reflect both sides of a story, always provide a right of reply.