Sibongile Mani, the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student who accidentally received more than R14m from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and went on a spending spree in 2017, appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Feni confirmed that Mani, 28, was arrested on Tuesday by the Serious Commercial Crime Unit of the Eastern Cape Hawks, after it requested that she hand herself over. She has been charged with theft.
Sibongile Mani appeared in court yesterday and was released on warning following her first court appearance for allegedly spending part of a R14 million financial aid deposit that was apparently accidentally paid into her account.
The Hawks’ Anelisa Feni says that Mani’s first court appearance was on Tuesday.
“This occurred after she was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crimes unit. The investigating team requested that she hand herself over at the Hawks’ provincial offices in East London.”
Mani received the money in June last year and spent over R800,000 over three months.
The accounting student allegedly failed to report the error before it was identified by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas).
Mani is expected back in court in July.
Mani, who studied accountancy at WSU, spent the money hosting parties for her friends, buying Peruvian wigs, designer clothes, handbags and expensive smartphones. During this time, her grandmother who raised her continued living in poverty.
She was the branch secretary of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania at East London’s Potsdam campus, when her life transformed overnight, from that of an ordinary student to a socialite.
Mani was released on a warning and was expected back in court on July 2.
In September last year, it was reported that Walter Sisulu University, NSFAS and cash service IntelliMali told MPs on the portfolio committee of higher education that no error had been made on their side.
IntelliMali CEO Michael Ansell told MPs their systems showed that the right transaction of R1400 was made to Mani on the date in question, and there was no “oversight, error or negligence” on their part.