A WALTER SISULU University student who accidentally received R 14-million worth of NSFAS money five months ago has a case of theft opened against her for the portion she spent.
The case against Sibongile Mani was opened on Tuesday, September 5 by IntelliMali, a company responsible for the administration and payment of funds between the university and students.
Mani reportedly spent over R800 000 in three months. The R 14-million was accidentally deposited into Mani’s account by IntelliMali. She was supposed to receive a food and book allowance of R 1400. The revelation has caused an uproar from students and on social media platforms.
WSU spokesperson, Yonela Tukwayo, told Wits Vuvuzela that the matter was reported by another student which subsequently led to an investigation. According to a statement released by the university, Mani’s student account has been blocked and she was informed that she will be liable for repayment of the money she spent.
Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) WSU branch spokesperson, Somelele Nogadlela, disputed claims that the university was not aware of the R 14-million allocated into Mani’s account, as she had reported the matter.
Nogadlela added “The students are angry because information they were given is that the 14 million belongs to them, and that says the university have compromised the safety and security of Sibongile Mani.” He said.
Vusi Mahlangu of PASMA echoed the same sentiments adding that “the university gave away her personal details and private information that are otherwise supposed to be with the office of the registrar and finance are now in the hands of the media and public.” He also said that Mani cannot walk freely because she is being followed.
Luncedo Makaula, a first year WSU Psychology student, told Wits Vuvuzela that Mani must pay back the money, as it could have financed the education of other students in need of assistance.
“It wasn’t her money, she was supposed to report and wait for NSFAS to take it back and not spend almost a million on hair and friends. For heaven sake it could have funded people like myself,” he said.
PASMA held a media conference on Monday August 4, “to set the record straight” on speculation from the media as well as comments made by the university on this matter.
Nosiviwe Matshingana, a WSU second year Accounting student, told Wits Vuvuzela that it was interesting that Mani’s face is all over the news, yet no stuff member is implicated in this matter. “I mean, there is no way that she broke into an office and deposited the money to her account,” she said.
Tukwayo responded saying that “we don’t suspect any wrongdoing by any WSU staff member but the investigation will provide answers.”
CEO for IntelliMali, Michael Ansell, in a public statement said that they take full responsibility of the allocation of food allowance into Mani’s account. “Regardless of the outcome of the investigation referred to later, IntelliMali takes full administrative and financial responsibility for the incident.” he said.