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Student receives 14million Rand (£770,000) by mistake

IN THE RAND: Student Sibongile Mani (image credit: 'Times Live')

WALTER SISULU University in Mthatha, South Africa, is at the centre of a mistake which saw a 14million Rand (equal to £770,000 or $1million) student loan paid out to Sibongile Mani, who began to spend the money before the academic year began, even posting a copy of her bank balance on social media.

University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo told News24 that Mani is "liable for every cent".

What Mani spent the money on so far is unclear, however it is likely that she was only able to spend it in certain shops, as student loans in South Africa can only be used via a card (IntelliCard) which is valid in shops that sell academic materials and essentials such as food.

Operators of the IntelliCard, Intellimali, are responsible for administering payments to students and have accepted responsibility for the error. The company's CEO Michael Ansell released a statement yesterday:

"The investigation is ongoing and legal action will be taken against the student. Intellimali is currently in talks with NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] and WSU [Walter Sisulu University] to determine the most appropriate action to be taken.

"Regardless of the outcome of the investigation referred to later‚ Intellimali takes full administrative and financial responsibility for the incident. Neither the funder‚ National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) nor the university (WSU) have erred in any way and they are not responsible for this. In addition‚ no student’s financial aid support will be affected in any way."

Mani told Times Live:

"It's difficult, very difficult but I will get through."

Her IntelliCard has been deactivated.

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