The past year has seen the axe fall on a number of controversial characters. The Mail & Guardian looks at 2012's high-profile job losses.
Time finally ran out for the ANC's young firebrand when he was formally expelled from the ruling party in late April.
His expulsion marked the end of a chaotic disciplinary process that began in August 2011, after Malema exhausted all avenues to challenge the charges brought against him. He was found guilty of sowing division within the ruling party and summarily had his membership terminated.
The charge related to him calling for regime change in Botswana and again unfavourably comparing the leadership of President Jacob Zuma to that of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.
Juju may have done well to accept the sanction of a five-year suspension from the ruling party that was originally handed down to him in November last year by the ANC's disciplinary committee. But instead of going quietly, he decided to fight on with his trademark belligerence.
Claiming his punishment was a conspiracy to silence opposing voices within the ANC, the controversial youth leader fought the charges tooth and nail, winning the right to argue in mitigation of sentence against the suspension.
It was to no avail though, as the ANC's disciplinary appeals committee not only first upheld his suspension, but also then turned it into an expulsion in late February.
After Malema tried to challenge that too, claiming disciplinary committee chair Cyril Ramaphosa was part of the plot to silence him, his expulsion was upheld on April 24.
Pitso Mosimane's unsuccessful stint as Bafana Bafana coach came to an end in June after a string of poor results belied by the team's inability to score goals.
Many felt Mosimane's departure should have come sooner though. In October 2011 he disastrously led his team in celebration thinking they'd qualified for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) - when they hadn't.
Someone forgot to explain the rules of qualification to the coach - his side played for a draw against Sierra Leone in October at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit when, in fact, they needed a victory.
Astonishingly, Mosimane was allowed to limp through a further five games without a victory before the South African Football Association eventually called time on his tenure.
His departure wasn't all drama though, as he was said to have received a six-figure payout for having his contract terminated early.
Spare a thought for his successor Gordon Igesund, who was saddled with the unenviable task of guiding Bafana to the semi-finals of the upcoming Afcon in 2013 and into the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup.
Igesund best deliver, lest he face a fate similar to Mosimane and those who came before him.
Manyi's ascension to the chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System puzzled many in the media and civil society.
For a man that was not known for his tact or diplomacy, the idea that he could communicate suavely for government was almost laughable.
Having previously landed himself in hot water during his time as director-general of the labour department and president of the black management forum, it wasn't long before Manyi raised the ire of the general public with some ill-placed comments.
Back in 2010, in one of his most famous gaffes, Manyi said there was an "overconcentration of coloureds" in the Western Cape, and they should "spread to the rest of the country".
This was soon followed by the DA producing a recording of Manyi claiming that Indian South Africans had "bargained their way to the top" and as such occupied too many management positions.
In 2012, wading into the e-tolls debacle, Manyi said South Africans should accept the controversial road fees system and that it was "not just a bad dream".
In the face of mounting litigation from civil rights groups and opposition parties Manyi said e-tolls were a "reality and wouldn't go away".
His rocky three-year tenure eventually came to an end at the end of August this year, but it wasn't for another foot-in-mouth bungle.
His eventual undoing was his failed attempt to restructure the government communications agency, apparently without adequately consulting the treasury or the presidency.
The government's official stance was that in spite of Manyi's "commitment and passion" that he brought to the role, he would not have his contract renewed and would be free to pursue other interests.
In layman's terms: You're fired, Jimmy!
After being placed on special leave in November 2011, the Generalissimo was formally given his marching orders in June this year.
Known for his hands-on and sometimes brash approach to policing as well as ill-timed off-the-cuff remarks about fighting crime, Cele was the subject of a judicial enquiry which sought to ascertain his role in the police lease scandal.
Cele was said to have signed off on the leasing of two buildings for the South African Police Service with controversial businessman Roux Shabangu without following correct procedures and protocol.
The commission found that while Cele had performed well in certain areas as commissioner, he could not "adequately and professionally" fulfill all of his duties and was thus unfit for office.
Left with no choice, Zuma relieved his long-term ally from his duties, but sought to do so in a way that would not tarnish Cele's reputation.
"I wish to personally thank General Cele for his tireless efforts in the fight against crime during his time as commissioner," said the president when announcing his axing.
In spite of Zuma's attempts at a truce, Cele did not take well to being sacked.
In the days following his suspension, Cele said the onus was on the president to prove why he was unfit for his job, and toyed with the idea of taking the matter to court.
Those threats seem to have fallen away but Cele is still bitter and is said to be at the forefront of efforts in Kwazulu-Natal to have Zuma replaced as ANC president in Mangaung this December.
It's always tough to be fired from a high-ranked position in the civil service, but it's a disaster if you find out you've been given the boot via an advert.
That's what happened to ousted competition commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala in May, after she saw an advertisement for her own job in several Sunday newspapers.
Widely regarded as an earnest advocate for consumer rights during her tenure, Mohalala took on several big companies who she found had violated the right of consumers in their dealings.
In spite of a meagre budget, cases Mohalala concluded while in office include taking the City of Johannesburg to task over the billing crisis as well as collusion over the retail price of bread.
However, it would seem though that Mohalala did not make many friends within the upper echelons of the department of trade and industry.
Her apparent undoing was a series of clashes with the department's director-general Lionel October.
The department and Minister Rob Davies continued to claim that Mohlala was not fired and that her contract was simply not renewed.
In the hope of retaining her job, Mohlala has taken the matter to the labour court.
Gerald Majola was finally booted as chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA) in October after an internal disciplinary hearing found him guilty of flouting the organisation's financial processes.
It took the CSA's own internal disciplinary hearing to rid the organisation of Majola, even after he was found guilty of financial impropriety by the Nicholson commission.
The commission was initiated by sports minister Fikile Mbalula following allegations Majola and other CSA execs were paid out unscheduled bonuses after the hosting of the 2009 Indian Premier League.
Judge Chris Nicholson and his team found that Majola had breached the companies act by authorising R4.7-million in bonuses without clearance from the CSA remuneration committee.
Majola always claimed to be innocent. During testimony at the commission he burst into tears and claimed to be the victim of a racial plot to prevent cricket's transformation.
In spite of damning evidence Majola has decided to challenge his sacking in the labour court, claiming the commission did not follow legal process.
So even though CSA feels they've rid themselves of this bad egg, expect more tears in the new year as Majola exhausts all legal recourse to be reinstated.
Cynthia Carroll was shown the door by Anglo-American after five years as chief executive of the global mining giant.
While her departure will be painted as her leaving of her own accord, Carrol was under pressure from the company's shareholders to leave after a string of poor decisions and missed opportunities.
Although a lot of the storms Carrol weathered could be put down to bad timing in the wake of the 2008 financial downturn, her tenancy as chief executive was not a successful one.
The mere fact that Anglo's share price, declined 38% in US dollar terms under Carroll's watch, while rivals BHP Billiton's and Rio Tinto's were up 63% and 15% in the same period, is testament to her failed stint as chief executive.
Elsewhere, a high-profile dispute between one of the company's subsidiaries, Anglo Sur, and the Chilean state-owned copper miner Codelco over ownership of assets in the country saw Anglo sell 49% of the asset.
Another subsidiary, Amplats, had flagging fortunes after they endured three different chief executives during her tenure.
However, contrasted with a very successful 2011 which saw Anglo American again achieve record profits for the group as a whole and in four of its seven business units, her departure is somewhat questionable.
Carroll also improved the company's safety record, cutting deaths by more than half, and delivered three of the company's four strategic projects - copper mine Los Broncos, nickel mine Barro Alto and the Kolomela iron ore mine - within time and on budget.