Johannesburg - South Africa expects the 187 athletes going to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland to return with “bags of gold and silver”, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

“Forty-three medals is the minimum. We expect more from you,” he told the athletes at a send-off at the presidential guest house in Pretoria.

The South African team leaves for the event on Wednesday.

“This country is going to be fully and totally behind you and that should urge you to perform at your highest levels.

“You will bring back with you bags of gold and silver and even some measure of bronze,” Ramaphosa said.

He was dressed in a green and gold “Team South Africa” tracksuit jacket.

“I wish you the very best as you embark on that plane and get on that world stage... Just make sure you fly that South African flag.”

Ramaphosa said the athletes represented a non-racial South Africa.

“Today when I look at you, I look at the colours of the rainbow... We are different, we are united but we are one thing... People in Glasgow will look at you (on Mandela Day) and they will say these are Mandela's children.”

Sapa