Minister of Home Affairs v Bickle 1983 (2) ZLR 400 S Crt: Constitutionality of the Emergency Power (Forfeiture of Enemy Property) Regulations. Meaning of ‘enemy’. Situations of war or armed conflict . Regulations confiscatory and punitive in nature.

Constitutionality of the Emergency Power (Forfeiture of Enemy Property) Regulations. Meaning of ‘enemy’. Court must first consider the issue of vires and reviewability of the Minister’s actions on common law grounds, before considering the issue of constitutionality. The presumption of constitutionality of legislation could not justify placing on the constitution a meaning which it cannot legitimately bear. Notwithstanding the acquiesence of the Senate Legal Committee, in the final analysis the protection afforded by the Decleration of the Rights could only hinge on the decisions of the Supreme Court. On all the authorities, the word ‘enemy’ can only be used in situations of war or armed conflict.

Holding of the court a quo confirmed. Regulations provided for a forfeiture of property and were consequently confiscatory and punitive in nature. They offended the safeguards provided by s16(4) of the constitution which provided for aquisition of property during public emergencies.

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