No, Sibongile Mani is not dead yet, the court only sentenced her to jail, feels guilty about stealing R818000 designed for the disadvantaged pupils and received more five-year jail sentence.
Sibongile Mani, a student, was found guilty of stealing R818 000 designated for disadvantaged pupils and received a five-year jail sentence.
However, she is requesting the court to vacate her sentence or place her under correctional monitoring. We will find out in two weeks whether her application for leave to appeal both her conviction and sentence is granted.
Mani was found guilty of stealing R818 000 after R14 million was put into her account by mistake on June 1, 2017. She was only entitled to R1 400 in food allowance and was accused of neglecting to disclose when R14 million was incorrectly deposited into her account.
Instead, she went on a buying frenzy.
According to news24, she will be eligible for parole after completing one-third of her five-year sentence and might serve the remaining three years under correctional supervision.
In handing down the sentence, East London Regional Court Magistrate Twanette Olivier stated that the court felt that a suspended term was completely improper.
“The only acceptable penalty is straight incarceration, and you are consequently condemned to five years in jail.” According to Olivier, the court took Mani’s status as a first-time offender into account.
In response to the defense’s argument that the court should not end Mani’s promising future. Olivier informed Mani, “You, and alone you, took that decision on 1 June 2017, and you did so repeatedly, for 73 straight days, multiple times every day.”
585 students who relied on NSFAS monies to study at WSU would have been harmed if IntelliMali had not returned the money she spent to WSU, says Oliver.
IntelliMali is a Cape Town-based firm in charge of delivering NSFAS payments to students.
Sibongile refused to testify about her crimes and denied culpability, although she did acknowledge spending the money.
She further mentioned that the money was “not spent on necessities for survival It was motivated by greed rather than need “.
Mani’s age and health were taken into account by the court, and Magistrate Olivier stated that Mani was an adult when she committed the offense.
The court rejected Mani’s claim that she had no intention of depriving NSFAS of its funds and had no understanding of the terms of her loan arrangement with NSFAS.
Mani was apprehended in May 2018 by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Unit after IntelliMali initiated a theft investigation.
She was accused of failing to disclose the error and went on a shopping binge, spending over R800 000 in 73 days.
The State claimed that from 1 June, when the money was deposited into her account, until 13 August, when NSFAS discovered the irregularity, she spent an average of R11 000 every day.
However, several people believed that Mani was not suited for jail since she is not a risk to society and prisons are overcrowded.
“The penalty handed down to Sibongile is more akin to a death sentence. Since she has already suffered greatly psychologically and physically in the overcrowded jail cells,” said the president of the F4SD Student Forum, Jacky Nonong.