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South Africa's Zuma picks first woman to head top appeal court

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday nominated Mandisa Maya to become the first woman president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the nation's highest court on non-constitutional matters.

Maya is currently deputy president of the court, which made world headlines in December 2015 when it upgraded the verdict on Paralympic "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius to murder from manslaughter for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Maya, if approved, will replace Lex Mpati, who is retiring. Her appointment will have to be confirmed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 23-member body that includes the chief justice, minister of justice and lawmakers.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Mark Trevelyan)