Perhaps this minister should get some credit for not being Cecil Burgess, chairperson of the joint standing committee on intelligence.Burgess attempted to infuse the practice of intelligence oversight with some kind of paint-on patriotism - unpleasantly sticky, but thin and unable to hide the decay under the superficial brushwork. Given that Siyabonga Cwele was catapulted from the same position of relative obscurity – he held the position Burgess now occupies – to take over one of the most powerful positions in Cabinet, we can be thankful that he continues to enjoy the confidence of President Jacob Zuma.There is not a lot else to celebrate.The Protection of State Information Bill rumbles on. The most contested piece of legislation of the democratic era, its gradual, if flawed, improvement has been achieved despite the obduracy of the ministry.The “technical amendments” of the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill have been recognised, even by the minister`s own MPs, for the far-reaching power shifts it entails. For now, the legislation is stalled. After a year, the abrupt departures of the country`s top three spies - the director general of the State Security Agency and the heads of its domestic and foreign branches – have been neither explained nor remedied. All three positions remain filled in an acting capacity, although it should be acknowledged that ministerial adviser and acting director general Dennis Dlomo appears to be energetic and professional.It is clear that the main security threats to South Africa are those that require political acknowledgement and response. Given that, it is worrying that the agency appeared so unprepared for the platinum-belt revolt and the minister has done nothing to address the concern about the politicisation of the service.On the contrary, there are indications that the agency`s cadet programme is being abused by a kind of Zulufication effort.