There is growing fear that the first few weeks of this year could see the start of mass retrenchments in the mining sector following a turbulent and bloody 2012.
According to weekend reports, at least one major mining company is reviewing its position in terms of production and profitability, while unions are warning that job cuts could be announced as early as February.
Labour analyst Tony Healy said the violent instability in the sector and the lure of how mining was done in countries like Australia could have played a role.
"We could well be looking at, in my view, as much as a 25 percent reduction in mining employment during the course of the next 12 months."
He said having a cheap labour force did not help if mining grinds were brought to a halt due to strikes.
But ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe on Sunday said mass job cuts would spell disaster.
"Mass retrenchments are negative for the country and the economy in general in the sense that it reduces consumption capacity of the country and at the same time throws more people into destitute."
Meanwhile, hundreds of people were evicted from hostels at Harmony Gold Mine operations near Carletonville after returning from their homes to start work last week.
Management at the mine has closed operations to assess the effect of wildcat strikes and violence between unions last year.