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Judge Frans Legodi

Legodi decided to withdraw his candidacy on Monday, according to the Judicial Service Commission.

In the April 2015 interviews for the Limpopo High Court division’s judge president position, Judge Francis Legodi of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, endured a series of questions about his resignation from the Arms Procurement Inquiry in 2013.

A commissioner in the inquiry, Legodi resigned on the eve of the pubic hearings, following the resignation, a few months earlier, of the commission’s senior researcher, Mokgale Moabi. In his resignation letter Moabi had cited a “second agenda” by inquiry chairperson Judge Willie Seriti – the commission itself turned out to be a whitewash.

During that Judicial Service Commission interview Legodi refused to declare his reasons for resigning — describing them as “personal” — or the nature of his meeting with President Jacob Zuma on the eve of his resignation announcement.

Last year Legodi, writing for a full high court Bench, set aside a decision to ban the local trade of rhino horns by the department of water and environmental affairs. The challenge to the moratorium had been brought be a local rhino breeder.

Legodi found that while the decision itself was rational, there had been insufficient consultation by the minister before the moratorium’s implementation.

In 2011 he was withering in overturning a magistrates court decision to deny bail to a family alleged to have run a child pornography syndicate, suggesting that the lower court had based its decision on public opinion and the weight of the alleged crime, rather than whether the eight applicants had proved exceptional circumstances. He granted each R15 000 bail.

Since working his way up from a clerk to interpreter and then prosecutor, Legodi worked as an attorney before judicial appointment in Pretoria in 2004. Currently chairperson of the Magistrate’s Commission, he has occupied several administrative positions, including serving as chairperson of the Mpumalanga Parks Board and chairperson of the Military Appeal Court.