Sibongile Mani, a former student of Walter Sisulu University, has been found guilty of theft in a case that has dragged on for the past 5 years.
She stood accused of spending nearly R1 million in National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds which were erroneously sent to her account.
Back in 2017, according to prosecutors, a sum of R14 was erroneously deposited in Sibongile’s account and she spent about R800k of the funds in about 70 days.
Residing on the case, East London regional court magistrate Twanet Olivier noted that Sibongile was an accounting student, an activist in her own right, and a student leader at the time the crime was committed.
On that ground, the magistrate ruled that the accused cannot claim to know that the money in the bank was more than the amount due to her under the NSFAS.
Concluding, the magistrate noted that the version of the state regarding the case is reliable.
Sibongile has not been sentenced, though. She will be back in the dock next month (March) for pre-sentencing.
The case has been of great public interest since it started in 2017. With the sentencing close by, opinions are divided on what should happen to her. Stay tuned.