Three activists affiliated to Sanco arrested for public violence at the Shepherd Bushiri-led ECG church were released on bail. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - Three activists affiliated to the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco), arrested for public violence at the Shepherd Bushiri-led Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church were on Tuesday released on bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

The trio, who have not yet pleaded, were arrested on Sunday during a protest which shut down the usually busy WF Nkomo Street in Pretoria West, at the Pretoria showgrounds which is hired by the highly popular ECG church.

Prosecutor Michael Shivuri told Magistrate Mali Mokoena that the three men's identities and fixed addresses had been positively confirmed by the investigating officer of the South African Police Service.

The men are all South African, with no previous convictions and were deemed as not being flight risks. Shivuri said the State does not oppose their release on bail.

The trio's attorney, Vincent Shela added that his clients would pay bail, and present themselves at the next court appearance set for February 28.

The three were granted R500 bail each.

Three women were killed in an apparent stampede at the ECG church during a service on December 28. Nine other congregants were injured as they ran for shelter during a heavy rainstorm.

The three deceased women were identified as Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogahlo Maria Segodi.

The Sanco protests began on Friday, with the community members calling for the ECG church to be expelled from the Pretoria venue.

"We were requesting the mayor [Solly Msimanga] and representative of the church to come and address us regarding what happened last week. We got no answers even after promising to get back to us," local chairperson of Sanco, Gopolang Makobe told African News Agency at the time.

African News Agency (ANA)