INFIGHTING among ANC members in the Ingquza region has reachedboiling point again.

INFIGHTING among ANC members in the Ingquza region has reachedboiling point again.

The Eastern Cape sub-region has over the years been bedevilled by incidents of harassment and fights over party positions.

In the latest incident, eight members were injured when members opened fire on one another.

The shooting happened a few minutes after a party meeting began at the Lusikisiki College ofEducation.

The ANC top brass in Eastern Cape have called for a high-level meeting today to discuss the present crisis.

In June this year an ANC member was stabbed in the buttocks after a squabble at a meeting in Lusikisiki.

At another meeting, in Flagstaff, OR Tambo regional secretary Jackson Sabona was also stabbed and admitted to the Kokstad Hospital.

Sunday's clash, according to witnesses, started when a group carrying weapons arrived and began singing struggle songs and hurling insults at some of their comrades.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom, who is on the ANC national executive committee, attended the meeting but escaped unharmed after his bodyguards escorted him away, holding off the attackers at gunpoint.

Some ANC members blame the latest conflict on Ingquza's mayor, William Ngozi.

"He is the core reason behind the division in the sub-region," OR Tambo regional chairperson Phumzile Matshoba said.

Ngozi was suspended from the ANC some time ago after he allegedly defied an ANC mandate by employing managers and the municipal manager without the knowledge of the organisation.

Matshoba also criticised the ANC's provincial structure, claiming they were dragging their feet in making the simple decision of "firing" Ngozi.

"As long as that mayor is still there . there will be no unity in that region because it is his people who come to disrupt ANC meetings."

Ngozi insists he is still mayor of the municipality.

"The reason why Matshoba badmouths me is because he wants to give tenders to his friends. It is his people who came with guns to the meeting," said Ngozi, who claims to have the support of ANC members.

"I am the mayor here and I will fight corruption to the bitter end."

Police spokesperson Captain Mduduzi Godlwana said cases of assault, public violence, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms were being investigated.

He said one suspect, Gugulethu Mbiko, appeared in court on Monday and the police were still hunting for 52 suspects.