What made Manuel blow the whistle?

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South Africa has had its share of wars, protests and punch-ups: Boer against Brit, black against white and black against black. But a scrummage between white-collar corporations was something new. Starting last September a war of attrition involving some of the country’s most influential power brokers dominated the banking sector. The issue: should two successful South African banks, Standard Bank Investment Corporation (Stanbic) and Nedcor, follow the global fashion and merge – or were they already an optimal size? One said they were, the other said they weren’t. A bewildered finance minister ended up making the decision for them. This June, he pulled the fighting packs apart. Chris Cockerill reports