Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Nqaba Bhanga.
- UDM councillor Luxolo Namette will take over as acting mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
- The incumbent mayor, Nqaba Bhanga, is in hospital.
- Bhanga was seriously hurt after he was involved in a car accident.
Nqaba Bhanga has been temporarily replaced as both the Nelson Mandela Bay mayor and DA caucus leader as he is hospitalised after a car crash on Saturday night.
UDM councillor Luxolo Namette will step in as acting mayor of the coalition government, while DA councillor Rano Kayser will act as the party’s caucus leader.
The DA said the changes, which were made in line with the legislation, will ensure that the mayor makes a full recovery.
Bhanga was seriously injured and rushed to hospital after he was involved in a car accident on Saturday night following his 44th birthday celebrations in Gqeberha.
Two people died in the accident, including the driver of the other car.
Both victims were in the grey Audi involved in the accident with Bhanga’s navy Mercedez Benz at the intersection of St Leonard’s Drive and Uitenhage Road at 23:30.
Opposition parties want answers why Bhanga was driving after the 22:00 curfew.
The police have since disclosed the names of the victims as Nonzwakazi Maho, 44, while the driver was identified as Sandile Ronald Sicolo, 39.
Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed the mayor was alone in his car.
According to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Bhanga was sedated and still in the hospital’s high care facility.
The municipality said his condition was stable and steadily improving.
Bhanga had surgery on Sunday evening to stop internal bleeding.
The chairperson of the DA in the Eastern Cape, Andrew Whitfield, confirmed the changes to News24 on Wednesday.
“Rano Kayser is the deputy caucus leader and, in terms of the caucus rules, he becomes the acting caucus leader when the caucus leader is not available.
“The legislation requires that an acting mayor be appointed when the mayor is not available, and that person by law is the deputy executive mayor,” Whitfield said.
“Our focus right now is ensuring that the mayor makes a full recovery, a journey which has only just begun. We are considering the circumstances around the accident very seriously and, once the facts emerge, we will fully investigate the matter,” he added.
“We would like to caution the public against any speculation and to allow the SAPS to conclude their investigation.”
The municipality wished the mayor a speedy recovery and conveyed condolences to the family members of the deceased.
“The details surrounding the accident on Saturday remain unclear. The municipality will provide full cooperation with the SAPS in their investigation,” the municipality said in a statement.