A man with unsurpassed administrative skills and an incisive mind.
This is how the late Thobile Gola was described by comrades in the PAC and friends in general.
Gola died on Friday August 8 2008. Soft-spoken, organised, sharp-thinking and engaging, Gola served the PAC, its military wing Apla and South Africa with distinction.
Born on December 7 1950 in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, Gola left South Africa for Botswana in January 1976 with long-time friend and comrade, former Apla chief commander Sabelo Phama.
This followed their being harassed by the apartheid regime for underground PAC activities in Transkei.
Gola was first posted to the PAC's administration office before he was sent for military training to Libya and later the People's Republic of China.
He developed into one of Apla's most effective commissars and commanders.
He was appointed camp administrator, then military liaison officer. His main duty was to link the Mbeya Camp with PAC headquarters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
A short while later PAC headquarters claimed him for itself and he left camp.
When John Nyathi Pokela arrived in Tanzania from Robben Island and assumed chairmanship of the PAC in 1983, the Apla high command was temporarily suspended.
In its place Pokela appointed a task force that recommended a new political direction. Gola was part of that task force.
Gola was later appointed to the military commission and became an ex-officio member of Apla's high command from 1986 to 1994.
He oversaw the disbanding of Apla in preparation for integration into the SANDF and other post-apartheid statutory bodies.
In his life in the PAC and Apla, Gola was appointed chief representative to Zimbabwe and was elected party deputy general secretary at the 1993 Mthatha congress.
Gola will be buried on August 23 in Mqanduli village in Eastern Cape. His funeral service will be held at his home from 10am. The cortege leaves for the local cemetery at noon.