By Tarjei Leer-Salvesen
- I have been warned, says Andrejevic to NTB, explaining that he is no longer permitted to speak to journalists.
Subsequent to Andrejevic's one previous interview, during NorWatch' 1998 visit, the company faced severe problems.
- His contract of employment was terminated in December, the executive secretary of Cementation Africa, B.J. Hancock, informs the NTB. He maintains that the Techno Arms operation has been suspended.
This statement proved to be incorrect. The factory is still running, according to Andrejevic, and the operation has been expanded to include an arms sale in Johannesburg.
An enquiry at the Cementation Africa switchboard, quickly puts NTB through to the Techno Arms offices. Andrejevic himself claims that the company is still active, and that he has in fact not been fired. Andrejevic is not willing to talk about the operation. Not until the NTB calls back at a later point, passing off as a potentially major customer with an interest in the Techno Arms small arms.
"We are still producing pump-action shotguns at the Selby factory, which is a part of Cementation Africa. We also keep a large number of these weapons in stock".
Ratomir Andrejevic, general manager of Techno Arms, to the NTB 03.03.2000
Obtaining the weapons the NTB allegedly is looking for is, it turns out, indeed possible. The same applies to future spare parts. This contradicts previous statements by Kvaerner, that the business is inactive, as well as statements made by Cementation Africa, that Andrejevic is no longer an employee of the company.
- We are still manufacturing pump-action shotguns at the Selby factory, which is a part of Cementation Africa. We also keep a large number of these weapons in stock, Andrejevic informs the NTB.
The quoted price for the pump-action shotgun, which resembles a submachine gun and which can be equipped with tear shells, armour-piercing shells and bayonet, is 3.200 NOK (approximately US$ 400).
- The price will of course be different if you purchase larger quantities, Andrejevic assures.
Kvaerner became the largest shareholder of Techno Arms when the company acquired the British conglomerate Trafalgar House. From the time of the acquisition, Kvaerner has maintained that they wish to discontinue the arms production and sales. Still, the undisputed optimism of the key figure in the company, Andrejevic, has remained throughout. Referring to the Kvaerner defence division in Norway, he declared to NorWatch in 1998 that the conditions for expanding Techno Arms are favourable:
- We (Techno Arms and Kvaerner) can do wonderful things together. The knowledge of arms is the supreme within the art of engineering.
For further information on Techno Arms, consult NorWatch 3/98.
Kvaerner's involvement in South Africa
The Yugoslav gunsmith Ratomir Andrejevic, resident in South Africa since the early 1970's, established Techno Arms in 1988. Cementation Africa purchased 70% of the shares in the company in 1990. Andrejevic held on to the remaining shares and to the job as general manager. Kvaerner, holding 49.9% of the shares, is the principal shareholder in Cementation Africa. In addition to one type of submachine gun equipped with a built-in silencer, Techno Arms owns the patent of four different kinds of automatic pump-action shotguns. Furthermore, the company has been involved in extensive trade in other kinds of arms, including import and export. According to Cementation Africa, they have long attempted to find buyers for the company, but have met with no success so far.
Norwatch Newsletter 3/00