- Sibongile Mani, the former accounting student who is being accused of stealing R14 million of NSFAS funds, says she never stole any money
- Mani's lawyer wants the charges against Mani to be dropped, stating that there is no evidence she committed a crime
- However, the state says there was wrongdoing because Mani spent some of the R14 million that was accidentally deposited into her account
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EAST LONDON - Sibongile Mani made a court appearance in the East London Regional Court to account for the theft of R14 million that was accidentally deposited into her bank account in 2017.
In court proceedings, Mani stated that she was innocent and that she did not steal the money even though she splashed over R800 000 at 43 different stores in less than three months.
The error of depositing R14 million instead of her monthly allowance was described as a ridiculous technical glitch in court, according to News24. However, the state is charging Mani because she neglected to report the error but opted to spend the money.
Mani reportedly went on shopping sprees in parts of the Eastern Cape, Johannesburg and Pretoria
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Asanda Pakade, Mani's legal representative, asked the court to drop the charges against the former accounting student on the basis of the Criminal Procedure Act. Section 174 states that the court may find an individual not guilty if there is no evidence that a crime was committed, according to TimesLIVE.
Pakade says Mani had no hand in the money being deposited into her account, adding that the office of Public Protector investigated Mani and found no wrongdoing.
The court adjourned the matter until 4 November.
Some South Africans defend Mani against theft allegations
"Ministers steal money all the time, they get redeployed in other cabinets, 14 is small change compared to what they steal."
"You cannot spend money which is not yours - it's dishonesty."
"I still don't understand how they blamed this whole mess on this girl. Clearly, money was being stolen here."
"Someone pressed the buttons- 14 000 000 send/enter/ok. Where's this person? Who is he/she? What happened to him/her? These can't be an ordinary error. Even if it is, that person isn't deserving to let go scott-free, just like that."
"The money was never stolen. They "sent" the money. NSFAS should take accountability and stop pinning this on her. Absolute nonsense! "
Welcome to South Africa where actual thieves have the audacity to take you to court!"
Sibongile Mani: NSFAS student who received R14 million instead of R1 400 back in court on Tuesday
Briefly News previously reported that Sibongile Mani, the former Walter Sisulu University student who was wrongfully paid R14 million by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2017, is set to make a court appearance on Tuesday, 19 October.
She will be appearing in the East London Regional Court and is facing charges of theft for allegedly spending approximately R800 000 of the funds that were sent to her account.
Tuesday's court proceedings will be the beginning of the defence's case as the state concluded its case in July 2021, according to SABC News.