DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga Picture: Facebook

Port Elizabeth - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Nqaba Bhanga has claimed that his life was threatened in an apparent hijacking attempt on the Port Elizabeth beachfront.

At a press conference called by the DA on Wednesday, Bhanga said he was scared and felt intimidated following the alleged incident which happened on Tuesday night. He claimed that two vehicles followed him after he had attended a meeting with various political parties at a hotel in Summerstrand.

At the meeting, discussions took place about the ousting of Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani. The DA and several other political parties, including some members of the current coalition, intended to table a motion of no confidence against Bobani but Nelson Mandela Bay Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, has rejected a petition for a special council meeting to take place on Friday. 

"There have been more than 20 political assassinations in this city. This has nothing to do with a hijacking, it has something to do with Friday's meeting to remove Bobani," said Bhanga.

Bhanga said that since Bobani took over as mayor, there had been a campaign of terror in the city with politicians being intimidated and told how to vote.

Describing what he called a "traumatic" experience, Bhanga said he was chased by two vehicles for about five kilometers. He believed the suspects were hired from outside of the city, to assassinate him.

He said that he managed to stop his vehicle at a public space, where he got out and was assisted by security officers at a beachfront hotel. A short while later he opened a criminal case at the nearby Humewood Police Station.

Bhanga said that he had never felt more vulnerable in his life, and he and his family sought alternative accommodation for the night.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to the DA's Athol Trollip on Wednesday morning, Speaker Mafaya said that council was in recess and would only resume on September 20.

Mafaya argued that no activities would be arranged during a recess period, this despite an MPAC meeting going ahead which was sanctioned by the municipality.

She said the request for a special council meeting did not meet requirements for an emergency or a disaster.

According to Trollip, the recess process was unprecedented, and was in effect because the ANC and the coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay did not have a majority in council.

"There's a recess, but despite that the municipality still convened a Municipal Public Accounts Committee. Now when there is a request by a number of political parties and more than 61 councillors, to have a special council meeting, she's reverting back to the fact that there's a recess period. So this is all hide and seek politics, and we will deal with it."

"This just highlights how dysfunctional this city has become in order to preserve those currently in government. They will bring this city to a halt to preserve the status quo and defend themselves," said Trollip.

African News Agency/ANA