The president has delivered a shattering blow to the South African economy, just as the economy was beginning to show definite signs of renewed optimism at the start of 2017. South African consumers may have been frightened into “pulling their heads back into their shells”. When consumers and businesses are scared, they typically stop spending and conserve cash to cope with whatever the new uncertainties may occur. This tends to reduce the sales of white goods and big ticket items like motor vehicles. It results in major investment projects being curtailed or abandoned and it results in consumers “trading down” to cheaper products. Economists and analysts have had to modify their forecasts downwards to reflect the new somber mood.