Trial of student who received R14m of NSFAS money postponed because of exams

2019-11-12 09:27
Sibongile Mani. (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

Sibongile Mani. (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

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The court case against Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani - who accidentally received more than R14m from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and went on a spending spree in 2017 - has been postponed to allow her to complete her exams. 

Times Live reported that East London regional court magistrate Twanett Olivier postponed the matter to November 25.

The third-year accountancy diploma student was reportedly not in court because she was studying for a Wednesday exam, defence advocate Asanda Pakade said.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni earlier told News24 that Mani, then 28, was arrested in May 2018 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. 

Parties and wigs

In 2017, News24 detailed how Mani 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.

In September 2017, 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.

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

Read more on:    nsfas  |  sibongile mani  |  east london  |  education  |  courts  |  fraud

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