"The telecoms giant told its workers in an email on Friday, Nov 13 it would start laying off employees in its South African business from Dec 1," The Times daily reported.
According to the report, MTN also planned to lay off around 70 per cent of its non-permanent staff.
In Aug 2009, MTN posted first-half results showing headline earnings per share (EPS) rose 22.5 per cent to 415.5 cents.
The country's official unemployment rate increased to 24.5 per cent of the labor force in the third quarter of 2009, from 23.6 per cent in the second quarter.
South Africa is grappling with its first recession in 17 years and many companies have had to scale down their workforce to contain costs.