Based on Edwards' (1989) intertemporal general equilibrium model of a small open economy, this study attempts to estimate the degree of real exchange rate misalignment and its impact on the international trade competitiveness of the South African economy for the period 1985:1-2000:4. For this purpose, a one-step Engle-Granger approach and five years moving average technique have been employed to estimate the exchange rate misalignment, while impulse response analysis and variance decomposition techniques of cointegrated VAR (vector auto regression) have been established to assess the impact of the misalignment on trade competitiveness. The study reveals that the real exchange rate had been consistently overvalued during the period 1988:3-1998:2 but undervalued during periods 1998:3-2000:4. For most of the periods during 1985:1-1988:2 the rand had been undervalued. Moreover, the study discloses that the exchange rate misalignment debilitates South Africa's international trade competitiveness accounting for 20 percent of the variation in competitiveness.