Bhanga, who is a councillor of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the party’s Eastern Cape leader, was involved in a two-car collision around 11pm on Saturday.
The incident saw two people from the second vehicle die as a result of the crash, which occurred at the intersection of St Leonards Drive and Uitenhage Road in Gqeberha.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has since provided an update on Bhanga’s condition following the mayor’s surgical procedure.
This is due to Bhanga’s injuries being more serious than initially thought.
“Executive mayor Cllr [councillor] Nqaba Bhanga was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Saturday evening on the R75 in Port Elizabeth [Gqeberha]. The extent of mayor Bhanga’s injuries were more serious than initially conveyed.
“He is currently in hospital where he underwent surgery late yesterday afternoon to treat internal bleeding, as a result of the injuries that he sustained,” the municipality said in a statement.
The municipality added that Bhanga is currently recovering at Netcare Greenacres Hospital’s high-care unit.
“His doctors have indicated that he is in a stable condition.”
Culpable homicide probe
While the municipality extended its condolences to the families of the deceased, it also warned against speculation, saying the South African Police Service (Saps) needed to completed its investigation into the accident.
A case of culpable homicide was opened and is being investigated following the accident, according to Saps spokesperson Sandra Janse van Rensburg.
Bhanga was understood to have been celebrating his birthday before the accident, with questions being raised over why he was on the road after the Covid-19 curfew deadline of 10pm.
He was driving a blue Mercedes-Benz.
In January this year, Bhanga was re-elected mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay following a special council meeting.
The elections occurred after the Port Elizabeth High Court declared Bhanga’s 4 December election as mayor inconsistent with the Constitution of South Africa.
Before Bhanga’s controversial election in December, the metro had been without a full-time mayor for nearly a year after late UDM leader Mongameli Bobani was booted out through a motion of no confidence on 5 December 2019.
Additional reporting by Charles Cilliers