Walter Sisulu University student and Pasma leader Sibongile Mani. Picture: SUPPLIED
Walter Sisulu University student and Pasma leader Sibongile Mani. Picture: SUPPLIED

Intellimali‚ the company that accidentally deposited R14m into Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani’s account‚ has opened a case of theft relating to her spending more than R800‚000 of the money.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Miranda Mills said: "Intellimali officials laid a charge [on Tuesday] at [the] Berlin police station. The normal investigation procedures will be followed."

Mani‚ who is the branch secretary of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) has had her life turned upside down over the past week after it was revealed she had spent more than R800‚000 of the money accidentally paid into her account.

In a statement last week‚ Intellimali CEO Michael Ansell said: "The student … did not report the oversight but chose rather to access the funds. When the error was discovered in early August 2017‚ she had misappropriated R818‚000."

At the time, the company said it would be meeting with the university and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to determine the appropriate action.

Students at the university were left angered this week after Pasma and Mani arranged a media conference on Monday to tell their side of the story‚ where Mani was met with calls to "Pay back the money".

Pasma chairperson Vuyo Langeni told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that the organisation had organised the media conference to "set the record straight". "What happened last week was the university gave their statement‚ Intellimali gave their statement‚ NSFAS gave their statement‚ but we never got a chance to tell our side of the story‚" Langeni said. "We also wanted to ask how her personal and confidential information came out. Her student number‚ ID number and even the course she was studying was leaked. She is now living in fear."

Langeni said Pasma was hoping to help Mani with a lawyer who would be willing to represent her pro bono, as well as organise counseling for her. "She’s traumatised. We are trying by all means to ensure the environment she is in is a friendly and safe environment. She’s a student and she’s never been at the centre of a commotion like this. She’s had to deal with the media‚ with the hatred from other students‚ and she’s getting threats."

Intellimali took full responsibility for the administrative blunder last week and repaid the R818‚469.29 spent by Mani to the university. However, university spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo said the university wasn’t aware of any charges being laid.

Following complaints that Mani feared for her safety‚ Tukwayo said it was the university’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all students on campus and re-affirmed the university’s stance that no student would suffer or lose out on their allowances following Mani’s spending spree.

"Financially‚ we are absolutely certain there won’t be any future problems," she said. "All students supposed to receive their allowances‚ will receive them until the end of the academic year."

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