Public protector, auditors and department don't know who was at fault for WSU millionaire saga

Sibongile Mani
Sibongile Mani
Image: Malibongwe Dayimani

The Public Protector, auditors Ernst & Young, and the the department of higher education and training (DHET) all investigated how a Nsfas student in East London got a R14m payout and not her usual R1,400 and could not find out who was at fault.

Intelimali director Roy Jackson, 60, was testifying before regional magistrate Twanett Olivier in the theft trial of former Pasma student leader Sibongile Mani, 29.

The charge sheet shows that in less than two hours after the R14m in Nsfas funding was transferred using the Intelimali system into Mani’s account, she had spent R20,000 on “prohibited” items such as cigarettes, alcohol and electrical appliances .

“We don’t know how it happened but we have taken responsibility that it happened on our watch,” said Jackson.

Asked by prosecutor and advocate Luthando Makoyi if Intelimali’s system was not designed to block spending after a student had reached their required spent limit, Jackson said: “Unfortunately no.”

“That is the case with all other universities except WSU and this is because Nsfas pay the institution so late and students end up going months without funding. When the money is finally deposited, WSU backpays all the months, meaning that a student can sometimes end up with R12,000.

“We lifted the cap for that reason. We also made a mistake of assuming that due to our sophisticated system, a student can never get more than they are allowed.”

The trial continues.

For the full report, get your copy of the Daily Dispatch tomorrow (Friday).