* This story has been updated.
Pretoria - The action by the security cluster ministries last week was “unprecedented”, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.
“Call me naive, as one MP said in Parliament, I never anticipated what happened last week Thursday,” she told journalists in Pretoria.
“Events that unfolded following the handing over of (the) report were unprecedented.”
Security cluster ministers brought, and then withdrew, an urgent court bid for more time to study Madonsela's provisional report on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home.
They said they wanted to properly peruse security-related aspects of the report before it was released to affected parties for comment. Madonsela's provisional report was given to the cluster on November 1.
This followed a special request that it have access to the report ahead of all other parties, to establish if its contents would compromise Zuma's security. The return date for comment was November 6.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in a founding affidavit that Zuma's safety could be compromised if Madonsela released the provisional report without state comment.
On Wednesday, Madonsela said that, in hindsight, things could have been handled differently.
“It did not sit well with me to read in newspapers that my office was fighting with the ministers,” she said. “Such conduct is not healthy.
“I'm saddened that it landed up in court.”
Madonsela said her office and the government now had the task of rebuilding trust and putting the unfortunate court drama behind them.
“Organs of state have a constitutional responsibility to help my office to live up to its constitutional mandate.”
She said she received a 28-page response from the cluster ministers on Friday, as promised.
“On Friday... I received a 28-page submission from the minister of police on behalf of the security cluster of ministers.
“The document had submissions that indicate that in the opinion of the ministers there are provisions in the provisional report that constitute a security breach.” - Sapa