Case of student who received Nsfas millions postponed again

Sibongile Mani (in the yellow jersey) walks out of the East London regional court. Picture: Malibongwe Dayimani/DispatchLIVE
Sibongile Mani (in the yellow jersey) walks out of the East London regional court. Picture: Malibongwe Dayimani/DispatchLIVE

Accounting student Sibongile Mani appeared in the East London Magistrates’ Court on Monday where her theft case was postponed again, this time to October 25.

The Walter Sisulu University student‚ who accidentally received R14 million for food and book allowances from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) after an administrative error, allegedly spent more than R800 000 in three months last year before the anomaly was detected.

According to the Daily Dispatch, Mani’s lawyer, Asanda Pakade, told Magistrate Nomthandazo Vabaza that the defence team was still studying the contents of the docket and charge sheet submitted by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

State prosecutor advocate, Luthando Makoyi, confirmed to the court that he had furnished Pakade with a charge sheet and copy of the docket.

Vabaza said due to a congested court schedule, a nearer date could not be found and the case could only be heard on October 25, The Dispatch reported.

This will be the third time that the case has been postponed this year as Magistrate Rochel Sam had previously postponed the case on July 24.

The defence team had said it needed time to study the contents of a docket and prepare for the trial.

Mani had initially appeared in the same court on July 2, when the case was postponed as her lawyer said he needed to get a copy of the charge sheet from the NPA before the trial could begin.

Mani’s spending spree was said to have been on Peruvian weaves‚ alcohol and lavish parties.

Nsfas blamed the university and its service provider for the error and ordered a forensic probe into the matter.

She was charged with theft and subsequently arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime unit in May this year.

Following her July 2 court appearance, Mani reportedly had to submit monthly reconciliation statements on her spending, as relayed to the Dispatch, by her spokesperson Vusi Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said that Nsfas had allocated more funding to Mani as her trial continued, while Nsfas said it would continue funding her until the court found her guilty, as she still qualified for finanacial assistance.


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