I'm chairman of a camera club, and many people ask me "Canon or Nikon" – and I always say: Camera-for-camera, lens for lens, its much of a muchness. Its swings and roundabouts. And it's a game of leap-frog, today Nikon has the jeezphuckwow camera, tomorrow Canon will bring out a Nikon-killer, the day afterwards, Nikon will bring out a Canon-killer, etc, etc. BUT servicing is a big deal – Nikon, undeniably, has the servicing aspect nailed, Canon has not.
And, as I've mentioned before, about 4, 5 odd years ago, Canon Camera SA was offered to me by the Canon head-boys, and their words were to the effect "we do not care about cameras, our prime game in Sa is office equipment" – they simply do not care about the Camera owner in SA, as was evident by their stand at the expo – a tiny portion of their stand was aimed at cameras and lenses, the vast majority of it was printers and fax machines. Roger Machin is about the only guy in the whole organisation that takes cameras and camera-clients seriously (Roger is the last of a dying bred, even Dutchy left!) . A Really stand-up bloke, of everyone at Canon was as passionate and dedicated as he is, it would be a vastly different company.
Specifically in SA, Canon is just not interested in their camera-clients. And for that reason, and that reason alone, I'd recommend Nikon over Canon. If Canon had the same servicing and commitment to customer care as Nikon, my answer to Nikon vs Canon would be "flip a coin".