WSU gets student's R818k 'splurge' money back

2017-09-01 20:11
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Cape Town - The National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has written to the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) for answers on how R14.1m of the money meant for poor students ended up in one student's account "in error".

In the letter, NSFAS Acting Executive Officer Lerato Nage explained that this information is required to explain to funders, stakeholders and students what happened.

NSFAS has also submitted a report to the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, based on its remittance account on WSU.

Earlier this week, it emerged that WSU student Sibongile Mani - based at the university's East London campus - was accidentally paid R14.1m and blew R818 000 of it before being detected.

The university said that it pays the money it receives from NSFAS over to a company called IntelliMali, and IntelliMali pays the students their money via an Intellicard.

It expects a full report into how the student was paid the R14.1m instead of the R1 400 she was entitled to for food and books.

IntelliMali said in a statement posted on its website on Friday that it has reimbursed WSU the R818 469 out of its own funds. It is also implementing a "thorough forensic audit" and will release the findings to the appropriate parties as soon as possible, said the statement attributed to IntelliMali CEO Michael Ansell.

'Police matter'

The company has vowed to take legal against the student.

Because it is now a "police matter", the company would not comment any further, said Ansell.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said on Friday there was no record of a police charge being laid against Mani.

Before she deactivated her Facebook account, Sibongile Mani posted that the money dropped into her account on June 21 and was reversed on 13th August.

She has not responded to requests for comment.

The university has said that she would have to pay the money back because it was paid into her account as a loan, albeit at the incorrect amount.

Read: WSU student to start career with R818k 'loan' debt

The IntelliMali can only be used at certain merchants, so part of the investigation would be to establish how she was able to buy items outside of that network.

NSFAS insists that it is not involved in payments to students, explaining that universities use their own autonomy and prerogative to make the payments.

"It is important that we note that IntelliMali is not a NSFAS service provider, but a WSU service provider. We have noted that IntelliMali has taken responsibility for this error,” said Nage.

NSFAS funded about 463 000 students this academic year, compared to about 405 000 in 2016, NSFAS board chairperson Sizwe Nxasana said at the National Assembly's portfolio committee on higher education and training, and the National Council of Provinces' committee on education and training in May.

Read: WSU student should have queried extra zeroes - MPs

Read more on:    wsu  |  intellimali  |  nsfas  |  sibongile mani  |  education

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