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Shop owner flees after helping 'millionaire NSFAS student' blow thousands

02 August 2019 - 16:17 By Malibongwe Dayimani
Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani in court with supporters on Friday.
Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani in court with supporters on Friday.
Image: Malibongwe Dayimani

An East London supermarket owner suspected of colluding with theft accused Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student Sibongile Mani by selling her over R170,000 worth of prohibited items has fled the province.

Mani went on a spending spree after R14m was mistakenly deposited into her National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) account.

This was revealed by Intelimali director Roy Jackson at Mani's theft trial currently under way at the regional court in East London.

Jackson, from Cape Town, said: "Soon after we learnt about the incident in August 2017, we launched a preliminary investigation and arranged a meeting with this merchant because when we looked at the records from the system, Miss Mani spent a huge chunk at the store."

Jackson said he had, however, "found the doors of the store shut".

"And when we asked neighbouring shops where the store owner was, we were told that he fled to Pretoria," he said.

Jackson said Mani spent R286,108 on alcohol, cigarettes, electrical appliances, bedding, airtime, gift cards, toys and microwaves.

He revealed that shops were identified by WSU and approved by Intelimali to sell to students. He said the store, Discount World in Fleet Street, East London, knew the rules on what goods could be sold to students.

“It appears that Miss Mani had some kind of a relationship with the owner of the store,” he told magistrate Twanett Olivier.

The case continues.

- Daily Dispatch