Expert: WSU student will have to pay back the money

Expert: WSU student will have to pay back the money

Associate Professor at Wits University James Grant says the student whom mistakenly received R14.1 million from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will have to pay back the money.

Walter Sisulu University

The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student received a food allowance of R14.1 million in June, instead of the R1 400 that was due to her.


Grant says the student will in all probability have to pay back the money if IntelliMali decides to take legal action.

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IntelliMali is the service provider appointed to make payments on behalf of NSFAS. It has indicated that it will head to court.


“The apparent consent given in making the payment was invalid because the payment was purely an error. On the facts, the student must have known that this was an error. If she knew it was an error, the necessary consent was invalid and therefore the funds were not hers to use,” says Grant.

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“In law these funds become trust funds. We also find a claim in common law called unjustified enrichment. If a person is enriched at the expense of another person for no good reason, the person impoverish is entitled to claim back from the person enriched. One could argue that the error constitutes no good reason for the payment,” says Grant.


The Payments Association of South Africa’s CEO, Walter Volker says the student will have little recourse if she had already spent some of the money.


“Whatever funds she has used in the interim, she would have to pay back. The rest of discussion is about a reasonable arrangement to pay - even if it takes a few years to do so,” says Volker.


According to IntelliMali the student spent R818 000 of the money mistakenly paid out to her.

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