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CAPE TOWN - Cabinet on Thursday apologised to social grant beneficiaries who were not able to access their funds this month following the switch to a new payment system.

"Cabinet appreciates that social grants are a lifeline to the most vulnerable members of our society and therefore such inconvenience is very much regrettable. It expressed its sincere apology to all affected beneficiaries," a post-Cabinet statement read.

It added that Cabinet had received a briefing on the problems from Social Security Minister Susan Shabangu.

Minister Shabangu has assured Cabinet that the technical glitches were a result of the transition of the payments from an old system to a new South African Social Security Agency/South African Post Office system. She has assured Cabinet that most of the affected beneficiaries have since been paid.

At least 700,000 of the country's roughly 11 million welfare beneficiaries have struggled to access their grants since technical problems arose with the new payment system on Sunday.

The Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) has migrated to a new payment system operated by the South African Post Office and beneficiaries are being issued with new grant access cards replacing those issued by Cash Paymaster Services and Grindrod Bank.

Cabinet said teams of officials were "working hard to stabilise the systems to prevent a recurrence of such delays in the future".

Sassa has given an undertaking that all problems would be resolved by Friday.

African News Agency (ANA)