No, we did not pay FET student R5bn: NSFAS

Students queue at a NSFAS office in Johannesburg. Social media was buzzing at the weekend when a woman tweeted that R5bn was deposited into one student's bank account. NSFAS says this is not true.
Students queue at a NSFAS office in Johannesburg. Social media was buzzing at the weekend when a woman tweeted that R5bn was deposited into one student's bank account. NSFAS says this is not true.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) on Monday afternoon vehemently denied paying R5bn to a Limpopo FET student.

The claims were made on social media platforms, with allegations the money was paid into the Letaba FET college student's Capitec account at the weekend. The student, who was not identified in the post, was allegedly enrolled at the institution's Maake campus outside Tzaneen.

Responding to questions on Monday afternoon, NSFAS claimed the saga was a hoax.

"NSFAS became aware of serious allegations posted on a social network alleging the scheme had paid R5bn into a student’s bank account. We would like to state that the allegations are not true, and confirm no such movements in our bank accounts.

"NSFAS did not make payment of R5bn to any of its students. We have controls in place to prevent such things from happening. We urge students to be vigilant at all times and not to fall victim to the ever-increasing scams that have targeted our NSFAS beneficiaries," said NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo.

Amid the reports, it is likely higher education minister Blade Nzimande will address the claims when he visits the NSFAS offices in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The alleged R5bn payout came to light when a person close to the student took to Twitter to share how the funds had cleared in the students’ Capitec account on Friday.

“NSFAS deposited R5,000,000,000 into this one’s bank account,” the woman tweeted.

When the post went viral, the NSFAS took to social media to ask for the woman's help to locate the student. 

Had the transfer been true, it would not be the first time NSFAS had mistakenly deposited a large sum of money for one of their loan recipients. 

In 2017, one recipient received a whopping R14.1m. The Walter Sisulu University student, Sibongile Mani, spent more than R810,000 of the funds before she was caught.

She is currently facing charges in court. It was alleged she had spent the money in just over three months, buying cellphones, expensive weaves and alcohol for her and her friends.

As suspicions had grown about her transformation and lifestyle change, a receipt from Spar was leaked showing Mani’s bank balance of just over R13.6m.

The company tasked with the administration of NSFAS's food and book allowances‚ IntelliMali, laid charges against her.


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