Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani’s attorney said on Wednesday the East London regional court was mistaken to find her guilty of theft, and the sentence of five years meted out was wrong.
With Mani, 31, in tow, attorney Asanda Pakade addressed the media outside the court after the sentencing.
Mani, a mother of two, broke down in tears along with her supporters in the court gallery when magistrate Twanett Olivier handed down the sentence.
Olivier convicted the honours degree student on February 7 of theft of more than R818,000 after R14m was deposited into her account in error by Intellimali on behalf of NSFAS.
The amount should have been R1,400. She immediately started spending the money.
After the sentencing, Pakade submitted an application for leave to appeal against both Mani’s conviction and sentence. Mani’s bail was extended.