Iraqi war claims CT victim

2004-11-17 08:07

Cape Town - Little Zandri Oosthuizen will not be able to chat to her father on the cellphone any more - the 29-year-old former policeman is a victim of the Iraqi war.

Jacques "Oosie" Oosthuizen of Brackenfell is believed to be the first Capetonian to die in Iraq.

According to his wife, Heidi, 28, Zandri does not understand what has happened to her father, a former police officer from the Pinelands airwing.

Before his death, the two-year-old used to say daily: "Hallo daddy. How things there? I love you daddy."

A statement by Erinys Iraq said on Tuesday that Oosthuizen had been part of a security team en route between Tikrit and Mosul when they were ambushed, reports Erica Gibson.

Oosthuizen and other team members were helped by coalition troops to get to safety.

However, Oosthuizen was killed during a shoot-out. Another team member was wounded when he tried to pull Oosthuizen out of the vehicle.

'Iraq was his dream'

Heidi, who is staying with her in-laws in Goodwood, Cape Town, told how Jacques said in an e-mail on November 9 that he was being transferred and would not be able to write to her for two days.

"He usually wrote every day," she said.

But, that was the last time she heard from him.

"Iraq was his dream. He didn't want to follow any other dream," she said.

According to Oosthuizen's father, Japie Oosthuizen, his son had been a well-trained policeman and had not gone to Iraq for the money.

"Not one of the people who have phoned me since his death are there for the money. They are all highly qualified people," said Oosthuizen sen.

Oosthuizen sen said it had been a difficult decision for Jacques to leave the police force.

But, in September when he found out he would not be promoted, he told Erinys he was ready to go to Iraq.

Jacques's father said his son had been in the bush war and knew what to expect in Iraq.

Heidi said she was taking life one day at a time: "At least I have the little one.

"She is half of him to help me through the day," she said.

The family does not know when the body will be repatriated as no arrangements have been made yet.

According to reports, South Africans serving in the security industry in Iraq are earning about R60 000 and more a month.