Sibongile Mani’s sentencing is ‘irreversibly unfortunate’


The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has criticised the sentence imposed on former student Sibongile Mani, saying the matter could have been handled differently.

The East London Regional Court sentenced Mani to five years behind bars for stealing more than R808 000 from NSFAS, which was deposited into her student account in 2017. Mani, who attended Walter Sisulu University (WSU) mistakenly received R14 million – instead of R1 400, and splurged on alcohol, gadgets and clothes.

Weighing on Sibongile Mani’s sentencing, NSFAS said they nor the university had incurred any financial loss from the ordeal and assured the public that it didn’t pursue any charges against her, which would have culminated in her being prosecuted.

“We wish to confirm that NSFAS did not institute any criminal proceedings against the student as there was no basis for it to do so. NSFAS position is, that while the student ought to have known better to not spend money they were not entitled to, criminally charging the student is irreversibly unfortunate.”

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Student who blew ‘accidental R14m NSFAS deposit’ jailed – for FIVE years


NSFAS said the sentence has the effect of destroying Mani’s future and that she has been unfairly blamed for the entire incident. While the service provider which made the error walks away unscathed.

The funds are believed to have originated from NSFAS, which then transfers the money to the said university. A third party service provider (in this case, Intellimali) is then roped in to administer the funds.

“The service provider could have pursued other means to recover the money from the student once she completed her qualification and obtained gainful employment,” NSFAS said.

Presiding Magistrate Twanette Olivier said Mani’s actions were inspired by greed and not need. She further said nearly 600 students would have been prejudiced if Intellimali had not paid back the funds she used.

“You were rushing against time to spend the maximum amount before it’s spoilt or brought to [an end]. Those were conscious decisions you took every day, not the court,” said Olivier.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Sibongile Mani who received R14m from NSFAS found guilty of theft


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