Ricochet News

Walter Sisulu University 'millionaire' student to stand trial end of the month

Jul 2, 2018
Walter Sisulu University 'millionaire' student to stand trial end of the month

A female student from the Walter Sisulu University, who allegedly splurged on money that had been erroneously deposited into her account is now expected to stand trial from theft at the end of the month.

Sibongile Mani appeared before the East London Magistrate’s Court on Monday where she heard that her trial will begin on the 24th of July. The postponement to the 24th is also to allow her lawyer, Asanda Pakade, to be able to get a copy of the charge sheet.

She briefly appeared before the East London Magistrate's Court for alleged theft in May.

It is alleged that during June 2017, the student mistakenly received just over R14.1 million from the NSFAS instead of about R1 400 for her stipend and allegedly spent just over R810 000 of this amount on personal items and parties before the error was uncovered.

According to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) last year, no public funds were lost in the incident.

It said that preliminary investigations by the service provider, IntelliMali, established that these funds belonged to the university, and not NSFAS as initially believed.

It added that from preliminary assessments, NSFAS and the Walter Sisulu University confirmed that no employee on either part has been found to have been involved in the erroneous crediting of the R14.1 million into the student's IntelliCard account.

Furthermore, IntelliMali has opened a case of theft against the student and is cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation.

Meanwhile a forensic investigation was launched into how Mani got paid such a large amount of money and how it took so long for the error to be discovered.

Spending spree that was only stopped by rivalry

Reports emerged of how Mani, who is a branch secretary of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) at the university, helped herself to the R14 million by buying expensive weaves, throwing lavish parties for her friends, whom she also showered with expensive gifts such as iPhones. 

Mani enrolled for accounting at the Walter Sisulu University.

However, her sudden 'rags-to-riches' transformation did not go unnoticed on at the Walter Sisulu University where students have previously embarked on violent protests over the lack of funding for their studies.

PASMA rivals in the South African Students Congress (SASCO) apprently got lucky when they got a receipt of Mani's unbelievable bank balance.

When they posted it on social media, it went viral, that is when the spending spree became news.