The East London Regional Court on Wednesday sentenced student Sibongile Mani to five years behind bars for stealing R818,000 of the NSFAS funds in 2017.
WALTER Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani, who was erroneously credited with R14 million in her National Student Financial Aid Scheme student account, has been sentenced to five years of direct imprisonment. The court dismissed Mani’s plea for a suspended sentence.
East London Regional Court Magistrate Twanette Olivier on Wednesday sentenced Mani to five years behind bars for stealing R818,000 of the NSFAS funds in 2017.
On Tuesday, March 29, Asanda Pakade addressed the East London regional court in mitigation of sentence for the education honours degree student.
Olivier said that a suspended sentence was not suitable and warned of “misplaced pity” and that Mani was not a victim.
“The court has a duty to impose a fearlessly appropriate and fair sentence even if such a sentence would not satisfy public opinion,” Olivier said.
Earlier this year, Mani was found guilty of theft relating to R14 million that had been paid into her account by Intellimali, a service provider for the NSFAS.
According to the reports, the student leader spent over R818,000 of the funds when R14 million was mistakenly credited to her account before the error was picked up.
She spent the money on alcohol, cigarettes, blankets, clothes for men, handbags, furniture, beauty products and groceries at a supermarket, in a period of two months.
In her judgment, Olivier ruled that Mani knew what she was doing was wrong, but that she had proceeded to spend the money anyway, in a well-planned manner all over the country.