The “NSFAS millionaire” Sibongile Mani is going to the mang for five years.
The Walter Sisulu University student, who was erroneously credited with R14 million in her National Student Financial Aid Scheme student account, was sentenced to five years of direct imprisonment on Wednesday.
The court dismissed Mani’s plea for a suspended sentence.
East London Regional Court Magistrate, Twanette Olivier, sentenced Mani to five years behind bars for stealing R818 000 of the NSFAS funds in 2017.
On Tuesday, 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 which had been put into her account by Intellimali, a service provider for the NSFAS.
Instead of notifying Intellimali, the student leader spent over R818 000 of the funds before the error was discovered.
She splurged the kroon on dop and entjies, blankets, clothes for men, handbags, furniture, beauty products and groceries at a supermarket, in a period of two months.
In her judgement, 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.