NSFAS 'Manibags' theft trial delayed for exams

The court case against NSFAS “millionaire” Sibongile Mani has been delayed to accommodate her exam timetable.

On Monday East London regional magistrate Twanett Olivier postponed the case to November 25.

Sibongile Mani still receives funding from NSFAS despite the theft charges she faces
Sibongile Mani still receives funding from NSFAS despite the theft charges she faces
Image: Sibongile Mani Facebook/ File

The third-year accountancy diploma student was not in court because she was studying for a Wednesday exam, defence advocate Asanda Pakade explained to Olivier.

Mani was arrested by the Hawks on May 29 2018 for theft after student fund distributor Intelimali opened a theft case on September 5 2017. This is after R14m was allegedly erroneously loaded into her student account on June 1 2017.

Mani is accused of failing to report the alleged “error”, and instead blowing almost R820,000 in 73 days. Between June 1 and August 13, she spent an average of R11,000 a day. The case was opened at the Berlin police station outside East London.

Intelimali director Roy Jackson had earlier told the court that an “absurd glitch” had caused the “system error” that led to Intelimali crediting R14m to Mani in 2017 instead of her monthly allowance of R14,000. He said an investigation by his Cape Town-based company had revealed that the error was not the fault of Intelimali staff or the company’s system.

During cross examination, when he was asked by state prosecuting advocate Luthando Makoyi why he felt it was necessary to lay a theft charge against Mani, Jackson said it was because Intelimali suffered financial losses due to Mani’s spending.

He said apart from paying WSU the R818,469 within 24 hours after the error was noticed, Intelimali incurred R500,000 by hiring auditors Ernrst & Young.

Jackson said three institutions – Ernrst & Young, the public protector and the department of higher education – all instituted investigations into the money, but all concluded that no-one was at fault.