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The constant rumble of trucks bringing concrete and scaffolding to the River Club development in Observatory, Cape Town, has ceased. Cranes stand motionless, and the industry of 750 construction workers, who have built multiple frameworks reaching three storeys over the past nine months, has come to an abrupt halt.

On March 18, Western Cape deputy judge president Patricia Goliath ordered that work be halted on the R4.5bn mega-development, set to house the new regional headquarters of global tech giant Amazon. Her ruling offers a stark warning to developers: they cannot bulldoze through public participation processes and then attempt to build themselves into an unassailable position...

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