Student who received R14m NSFAS payout in error appears in court

2018-05-29 15:29
Sibongile Mani (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

Sibongile Mani (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

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Sibongile Mani, the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student who accidentally received more than R14m from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and went on a spending spree in 2017, appeared in the East London Magistrate's Court on Tuesday morning.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni confirmed that Mani, 28, was arrested on Tuesday by the Serious Commercial Crime Unit of the Eastern Cape Hawks, after it requested that she hand herself over.

She has been charged with theft.

Mani accidentally received the NSFAS payment of R14.1m and went on a three-month spending spree.

"She allegedly spent just over R810 000 of this amount on personal items over a period of three months before the anomaly was detected by the scheme," Feni said. 

News24 last year detailed how Mani, who studied accountancy at WSU, spent the money hosting parties for her friends, buying Peruvian wigs, designer clothes, handbags and expensive smartphones. During this time, her grandmother who raised her continued living in poverty.

She was the branch secretary of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania at East London's Potsdam campus, when her life transformed overnight, from that of an ordinary student to a socialite.

Mani was released on a warning and was expected back in court on July 2.

In September last year, News24 reported that Walter Sisulu University, NSFAS and cash service IntelliMali told MPs on the portfolio committee of higher education that no error had been made on their side.  

IntelliMali CEO Michael Ansell told MPs their systems showed that the right transaction of R1400 was made to Mani on the date in question, and there was no "oversight, error or negligence" on their part.

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