As the Fees Commission gears up to submit its final report on the potential for free higher education, one student at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) could well have achieved that goal without so much as lifting a finger.
Spokesperson from the university, Yonela Tukwayo, confirmed this week that the tertiary institution mistakenly deposited R14 million, allocated by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), into one of its student’s account more than 5 months ago.
The blunder came to light when this student posted a receipt showing a multimillion rand balance on social media which quickly went viral.
The student allegedly tried to notify the university, but the WSU has stated that it received no report or notification.
Tukwayo stated that the erroneous deposit was made by a company employed by the NSFAS which, much like the social grants system, administers payments to student debit cards directly.
Around R400 000 have already been spent by the student on luxury goods, a cellphone and one party according to local sources.
"We are also looking at the Nsfas rules of which the child did sign an agreement to adhere to the rules in terms of how that money should be used”, says Tukwayo. “So, the student will be liable to repay every cent of the money spent even if it takes 20 years to do so."
The incident has sparked serious questions around the administrative capabilities of both the university and NSFAS.