FIRST ON EWN: G4S faces penalties of R1.44m

EWN has learnt the security firm faces penalties worth R1.44 million.

EWN has learnt the security firm has been served 29 notices of penalties in breach of terms with the Correctional Services Department worth R1.44 million.

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt the Department of Correctional Services has served 29 notices of penalties to private security firm G4S for incidents of violence at the Mangaung Correctional Centre in the Free State since 14 September.

There's been a spate of stabbings at the prison since the middle of September and this week the situation culminated in a hostage drama where a senior female warden was taken hostage by four inmates.

The number of violent incidents at the prison has drastically increased since last month following the sacking of more than 300 Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popru) members for staging an unprotected strike.

There've been 29 breaches by the security firm of the terms and conditions of their contract since 14 September and the penalty for each incident is R36,000.

If the notices are approved the company will have to pay the department a hefty sum of R1.44 million in penalties.

The department's Joe Maako says, "It is a process that must be followed with that. We have to get the other party to respond."

President of G4S Africa Andy Baker says they believe each breach was an unavoidable accident.

"We believe that it is a clear case of force majeure. We actually have two very senior opinions that verify this."

The company is due to meet with the department later this month to motivate why the penalties shouldn't be enforced.