“On my own behalf, and on behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the entire Sata family as well as the government and people of Zambia,” he said in a statement.
The Associated Press reported that Sata died in a London hospital on Tuesday night.
Zuma said Sata would be remembered for his commitment to improving the lives of his country’s people.
“President Sata supported robust economic transformation of the country, which led to positive economic growth and increased investment in Zambia,” said Zuma.
“His contribution to the work of bodies such as the Southern African Development Community and the African Union would be sorely missed.”
Parliament’s international relations and co-operation portfolio committee on Wednesday said Sata’s death marked a sad time for Zambia, as it was the second time in the country’s history that a president died while in office.
President Levy Mwanawasa died in a Paris Hospital in 2008.
“South Africa’s Parliament is in mourning with the Zambians,” the committee’s acting chairman Bheki Radebe said in a statement.
“The support Zambia gave to South Africans during its struggle for freedom could never be surpassed.”
Radebe said Sata’s death should not become an opportunity for “political opportunism”.
“The death of President Sata should be used to foster political tolerance in the region, Africa and the world.”