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Sibongile Mani Avoids Jail Time Despite R800k Spending Spree

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Sibongile Mani Avoids Jail Time Despite R800k Spending Spree

Sibongile Mani Avoids Jail Time Despite R800k Spending Spree. Sibongile Mani, the infamous “NSFAS millionaire” who mistakenly received R14 million instead of R1,400 from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), will not be facing imprisonment for her actions.

Successful Appeal and Revised Sentence

Mani, a student at Walter Sisulu University, successfully appealed her initial five-year sentence for theft. Convicted by the East London Regional Court in March 2022 for spending nearly R800,000 within two months, Mani’s revised sentence includes a wholly suspended five-year term. This suspension is contingent on her avoiding future convictions for theft and fraud.

Conditions of Sentence

As part of the revised sentence, Mani is required to undergo three years of correctional supervision, engage in 576 hours of community service, and attend counseling. Additionally, she is restricted from leaving her hometown, Komani, without approval from correctional services.

Judicial Intervention and Reasons for Leniency

Acting judge Sally Collett in the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda set aside the original sentence, replacing it with correctional supervision and community service. Collett acknowledged the seriousness of Mani’s actions but questioned whether incarceration truly served the interests of justice.

Investigation into NSFAS Funds

Contrary to criminal proceedings, NSFAS did not initiate any against Mani. Former NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo clarified that individuals concerned about their R800k took her to court independently. NSFAS confirmed no financial loss during the incident after an internal audit review of its systems and controls.

Intellimali Financial Loss

Intellimali, responsible for distributing NSFAS allowances, suffered a financial loss due to a systems error. Mani received the erroneous R14 million payment in 2017, intended to be R1,400. NSFAS attributed Intellimali’s loss to weaknesses in their controls and systems, leading to Mani’s significant spending spree.

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Reputational Damage and Misreporting

NSFAS emphasized reputational damage resulting from inaccurate media and parliamentary reporting. Intellimali, the fund allocator, attributed the erroneous payment to a technical glitch or hacker and couldn’t identify the responsible party.

Mani Political Journey

In 2023, Mani sought the position of Treasurer General at Walter Sisulu University. Despite being initially elected as treasurer, her criminal activities led to her disqualification from the position in April.

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