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Heartbroken Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor speaks out about car accident and breaking curfew

Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Nqaba Bhanga in happier days, the scene of the accident and Bhanga on Tuesday. (Photos: Deon Ferreira and Supplied)

Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor, Nqaba Bhanga has expressed his sadness over the fatal accident that he was involved in at the end of August and said that he was cooperating with the police. As his colleagues in the Democratic Alliance hit the campaign trail hard in the metro, Bhanga, who is the party’s mayoral candidate for the politically unstable metro, remains on sick leave.

With his hand still in a cast, a visibly distraught executive mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor, Nqaba Bhanga has spoken out about the fatal accident that claimed the lives of two people for the first time.

Bhanga, driving his own dark blue Mercedes Benz, was involved in a serious accident after 11pm on Saturday night 28 August. It was his birthday. 

Bhanga said that he was out after curfew, which was at 9pm at the time, because he “was attending to a serious medical emergency.”

He also said he had hired a lawyer and was cooperating with the police in the investigation — although he added that this should not be viewed as an admission of any type of guilt on his side.

With his hand bandaged, the normally rambunctious mayor cut a distraught figure. 

“I am grateful and thankful to many of the people who have been sending messages and have been praying for me and not only for me but for everybody who were involved including the families that were affected by this accident.

“This was a tragic and fatal accident where two individuals died. It breaks my heart that I was involved in this kind of an accident. I must say that my family has reached out to the two families. I am happy to inform you that my family was warmly welcomed by these two families because many understand that this was an accident. I am so heartbroken that this accident took two lives. 

“I was severely injured in this car accident. I had to be put into the intensive care unit for a number of days. I had internal bleeding. An operation had to be done. Doctors have informed me that in this accident, I was lucky. I could have lost my life. I thank God for saving my life in this accident and I pray that God will have mercy on everybody that was involved in this accident,” he said. 

Bhanga said he felt like he was given a second chance in life.

“I am so grateful for the fact that my life was saved. I thank the nursing staff and doctors who were involved. I must say that currently, I have met with the police today in relation to the accident. I have submitted a statement. The accident is under investigation. I am cooperating with the police in this regard. This is a legal matter. I have appointed a legal representative … and this should not be viewed as a form of accepting guilt, but it is a legal process that anybody who was involved in an accident like this has a responsibility … in order for my rights to be protected in this regard. Therefore my lawyers and I have submitted a statement to the police. We are happy with the statement that was submitted.”

Two culpable homicide dockets were opened for each of the deceased, cousins Sandile Ronald Sicolo, 39, and Nonzwakazi Maho, 44, who were in the other car.

“This issue is under investigation as we speak right now. I hope that this issue will be concluded with speed. 

“The reason why I was out of my house during curfew time was that I had to respond to a serious medical condition (sic). This has been stated very clearly to the police.

“I thank everybody who has been involved in supporting me and supporting the families. I am so grateful for the support I have received from residents. 

“The journey is going to be difficult for me and for many. But it is a journey I will take one step at a time. It is time for me to reflect on this accident and to reflect on what is going to happen going forward. My duty is to lift up my head and do what I am supposed to do,” he said. 

Bhanga’s spokesperson Leander Kruger confirmed that the mayor remains on sick leave. DM/MC

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All Comments 7

  • Right now i suppose he enjoys the benefit of doubt, but the victims in this fatal crash deserve nothing less than a thorough police investigation to get to the real facts.

  • Attending to a “medical condition” on the night of your birthday, alone – in South Africa? Really?
    Some poor decision making here – including the damage control PR. does it take this long to establish what “really” happened? Let him submit to a lie-detector test. Was blood drawn to test alcohol consumption after the accident? Please don’t say he was seriously injured & that was top priority. He was taken to intensive care (his one words). Bloods would definitely have been taken. The DA needs to take quick action on this matter – and let the facts be known. I hope they have a back-up mayoral candidate.