South African court agrees to hear Zuma challenge to jail term - report

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FILE PHOTO: Former South African President Jacob Zuma sits in the dock after recess in his corruption trial in Pietermaritzburg

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's highest court has agreed to hear former president Jacob Zuma's challenge against the 15-month jail term it gave him for failing to attend a corruption hearing, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (​SABC) reported on Saturday.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail for absconding in February from an inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

It gave Zuma until the end of Sunday to hand himself in, after which police would be obliged to arrest him. With the decision to hear his application, that order is now suspended.

Zuma has asked the court to annul the sentence on grounds that it is excessive and could expose him to COVID-19.

Zuma also called the sentence a "political statement of exemplary punishment". He has maintained he is the victim of a political witch hunt and that Zondo is biased against him.

(Reporting by Tim Cocks; Editing by Kevin Liffey)