This article seeks to compare the Tanzanian consumer bankruptcy and debt
relief procedures with those of South Africa. The purpose is to ascertain
whether there are any lessons to be learnt by Tanzania from its fellow
SADC country, and to indicate a way forward for future law reform in this
regard. The research shows that the Tanzanian system, compared to the
South African system, is in many respects more liberal towards debtors. So,
for instance, the Tanzanian Bankruptcy Act does not require proof of
advantage for creditors in order for a debtor to be adjudged bankrupt.
However, the Tanzanian system does not provide for any significant
alternative debt relief procedure. In 2001 the consumer debt committee of
INSOL International recommended that legislators in countries undertaking
law reform with regard to debt problems of individual debtors, should
provide for alternative debt relief procedures which take into consideration
the debtor’s specific needs. We suggest that the Tanzanian legislator, when
designing such a procedure, should learn from the mistakes of its South
African counterpart. The alternative procedure should be inexpensive and
simple and should involve extra-judicial rather than judicial proceedings.
Finally, it should offer the consumer a discharge from indebtedness and
enable him or her to make a fresh start.