JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday extended his condolences to the Venezuelan people over the death of their President Hugo Chavez.
"On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to the government and the people of Venezuela following the passing on of President Hugo Chavez on March 5, 2013," the South African presidency said in a statement.
Zuma said, "Our hearts are with the family of President Chavez, as well as the government and the people of Venezuela during this difficult time of mourning the departure of this respected revolutionary leader of Venezuela." "Under the leadership of President Chavez, Venezuela instituted a dramatic change under the government's 'Bolivarian' approach in Latin America and beyond in promoting regional integration based on the principles of social justice, " said Zuma.
President Chavez paid a state visit to South Africa in September 2008. "That further strengthened the existing solid bilateral relations between the two countries," said the South African presidency.
Chaves died on Tuesday following a battle with the cancer for about two years.
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