CHART: South Africa's currency is getting thumped on the markets

The South African rand has been crushed in the wake of political upheaval in the ruling African National Congress party.

On Monday, ratings agency S&P cut South Africa’s credit rating to junk status and the rand promptly fell by 2% against the US dollar.

Junk debt, as it is known, is any debt carrying a long-term rating of BB+ or lower.

The currency has fallen more than 12% since last Monday, when President Jacob Zuma ordered his finance secretary, Pravin Gordhan, to return home from an international investor roadshow.

Zuma has since sacked Gordhan, a well respected figure in the finance community who was presiding over a plan to reign in government spending.

This chart, via investing.com, shows the key events which have led to the USD/ZAR shooting higher.

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.