Student should have queried extra zeroes: MPs

Sibongile Mani

Sibongile Mani

Port Elizabeth — The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student who got a R14.1m payment bonanza should have questioned where the money had come from, Parliament’s higher education committee said yesterday.

Sibongile Mani should have queried the extra zeros on her regular R1 400 monthly allowance, committee chairperson Connie September said.

The payment was dubious and they wanted answers.

She criticised the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for not spotting the error. It was unacceptable that such a “grave mistake” could occur undetected on money appropriated by Parliament, and disbursed by various entities, including the higher education department.

Mani allegedly went on a spending spree after the equivalent of $1m was paid into her IntelliCard account in June.

Intellimali, the company which facilitates student payments, said they picked up the error in early August.

CEO Michael Ansell said in a statement on Wednesday that the R14.1m was deposited into her account in error in June 2017. She spent about R818 000, for which she would be liable. The balance had been recovered. University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said yesterday that Mani would start her career by repaying a “massive debt”. NSFAS funds were loans and not gifts, she said.

September said the committee accepted the steps taken to recover the money and was keen to hear from the department and NFSAS. Intellimali might also be required to appear before the committee. — Sapa

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