WSU student accidentally receives R14m NSFAS deposit, spends thousands

Sizwe Nxasana, chair of NSFAS speaks during a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande and university vice-chancellors in Johannesburg. (Vathiswa Ruselo, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)
Sizwe Nxasana, chair of NSFAS speaks during a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande and university vice-chancellors in Johannesburg. (Vathiswa Ruselo, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Port Elizabeth - A Walter Sisulu University student who accidentally received a whopping R14m pay-out from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme has already spent about half a million of it, the university confirmed on Tuesday.

''I can confirm that she received R14m into her Intellicard account,'' said university spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo.

''I can also confirm that the student is liable for every cent,'' said Tukwayo.

She explained that the company which facilitates the student payments, should have detected the blunder immediately after it was made earlier this year.

The university is meeting the company on Tuesday afternoon to receive a report on the matter and is also conducting its own forensic investigation.

Tukwayo said the student had reported it to the university, but had allegedly spent R500 000 of it in the past five months.

Funds reversed 

Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) academic officer Lwando September confirmed that the student concerned was a secretary general for the East London branch of the movement, but said she would not be conducting interviews.

However he verified that a Facebook post by the student over the incident was legitimate.

In the post she admits receiving the money, and said it has been reversed.

''The answer is simple NSFAS made a mistake and allocated more money in a wrong account and that account happened to be mine,'' she wrote.

''So I am not denying anything, the money was indeed loaded on the 1st of June and reversed on the 13th August .''

She questioned why her short-lived good fortune was made public and felt the Student Representative Council did not have her back.

''As a responsible person and a member of Pasma not just a member but a leader of students I went straight to the SRC to report this matter.'' 

NSFAS issued a series of tweets distancing itself from the bonanza pay-out, shifting the blame to IntelliMali, the company that runs the Intellicard system which pays and administers student funds.

In the meantime, Intellicard blocked her account.

Tukwayo said that the overpayment is currently having no effect on the payment of loans to other students, but it still needs to determine how it will affect future payments.

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