Sixteen days of no violence against women and children ended on a sour note for the family of Nhlanhla Mphahlele, 43, after her alleged killer, Mzwandile Mphahlele, 48, was granted bail in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Nhlanhla was allegedly strangled by her husband, Mzwandile, on November 17, 2019.
"On the day of Nhlanhla's untimely death, she dropped her two boys at home in Tembisa to attend a funeral. She came back home and spent time with the family. She later drove to her house in Boksburg and called me informing me she had arrived safely," family spokesperson Busi Radebe said in a statement this week.
"An hour later, Mzwandile called to say Nhlanhla had drowned in the bathtub and she was dead," she added.
Upon arrival, Nhlanhla's family claimed they had not seen anything that pointed to a drowning.
"The bathtub was half full, it didn't even cover Nhlanhla's body. The drowning referred to by Mzwandile puzzled all of us. Even their eight-year-old, Tumisho, wouldn't have drowned in that bathtub," Radebe added.
Radebe, who is Nhlanhla's sister, alleged she had been abused before her death and was planning to leave her marital home in December 2019.
"The weakness of Nhlanhla was that she was not a spontaneous person and liked to plan things in advance.
"She stayed in an abusive relationship for the past 10 years of their marriage because she loved her husband. It is unfortunate she met her untimely death while planning to move to an alternative place in December 2019," Radebe explained.
The decision to grant Mzwandile - the two boys' only caregiver - bail has shocked relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours and the community.
"It demonstrates how cheap South African women's lives are. This is an insult to the Radebe family and South African women at large," Radebe said.
Mzwandile is out on R10 000 bail.
"Over the past few weeks, the country has been deeply traumatised by acts of extreme violence perpetrated by men against women and children.
"These acts of violence and failure to uphold South African law clearly indicates the justice system undermines the country's commitment to protect human rights and human dignity," Radebe said.
The Sowetan reported Mzwandile was due back in court in January after the case was postponed for further investigation.