MPs call for government probe into R14m paid to university student

2017-11-29 22:30

(Supplied) (File)

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Cape Town – The Department of Higher Education and Training must urgently conduct a forensic investigation into how R14m was erroneously paid to a Walter Sisulu University student earlier this year, the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training said on Wednesday.

The committee said the call follows the completion of an investigation into the matter by Intellimali, the company tasked by the university to distribute funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Sibongile Mani was to receive only R1 400 as a recipient of a NSFAS loan, but erroneously received R14m instead.

She allegedly spent more than R800 000 before the mistake was discovered.

The balance of the money has been retrieved.

Committee chairperson Connie September, in a statement, said it was critical that the department conducts the investigation as the principal entity receiving the funding.

'Report of no use to committee'

"The report from Intellimali is still unable to identify the source of the error and does not even say how the error occurred. This is concerning to the committee, as it is tasked with approving budget for the department," said September.

She said the Intellimali report on the R14m that was paid out, "over R800 000 of which was embezzled on cellphones, hair and expensive wines", was of no use to the committee.

"The department should get involved and prepare a report for the committee early in 2018, preferably before the end of January," she said.

According to the committee's statement, Intellimali's report states: "The source code relating to the file upload process reflected the values (R1400) contained in the source upload file and not the actual value (R14m) deposited into the Intellicard of the student."

Read more on:    nsfas  |  university fees

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