International - On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to the government and the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela following the passing on of President Hugo Chávez on Tuesday, 5 March 2013.
In expressing his condolences, President Zuma added: "Our hearts are with the family of President Chávez, 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 and indeed the entire progressive family of nations".
President Zuma paid tribute to President Chávez' visionary leadership since he took office on 2 February 1999 and his commitment to the social struggles of the less fortunate in Venezuela.
In addition, President Zuma also said that Venezuela, under the leadership of President Chávez, 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".
President Chavez paid a State Visit to South Africa in September 2008 that further strengthened the existing solid bilateral relations between the two countries. In addition, at a Senior Officials Meeting held in Venezuela in 2012, several key areas of bilateral cooperation were identified, primarily in the fields of energy and agriculture.