Niel Voller. Picture: Supplied

In an ironic twist, 55-year-old HR Executive Neil’s stay on M-Net’s Survivor South Africa: Philippines came to a dramatic end as a tie-breaking draw of rocks at Tribal Council saw him eliminated, moments after being unanimously elected as tribe Luzon’s leader.

Luzon, divided, couldn’t separate Josie and Annalize after two rounds of voting at their second consecutive Tribal Council, with Survivor rules dictating that the only way to break a stalemate was to draw rocks. The tribe member drawing the only white rock from the bag would become the next to be eliminated from the show. 

READ: Survivor South Africa - Philippines kicks off with a bang

Having drawn rocks, the contestants turned their palms skywards and unfurled their fingers in unison to reveal their fate, with Neil raising his other arm in acknowledgement to become the second castaway to head home this season – and break the ‘Big Five’ alliance wide open.

Neil had only just found himself unwittingly elected as Luzon’s leader after Nico offered the tribe members the chance to select a captain after consensus was that the tribe had ‘too many chiefs’. Prophetically, when asked if he felt safe now that he had been elected as a leader, he said ‘There are many different types of blindside, and this could be one of them”.

Luzon found themselves at their second Tribal Council after losing their fourth consecutive challenge to steamrollering Mindanao - low on morale, short on food and without fire for four days, until Tom finally mastered the flint.

Flexing their majority muscle after losing the Tribal Immunity challenge, the Big Five – Tom, Neil, Annalize, Chané and Ace – had agreed that Josie was to be the next to go. Palesa, having earlier picked up a clue to a hidden Immunity Idol, decided to make a drastic play and revealed her discovery to minority alliance members Josie and Vusi. 

She detailed her plan to play on Ace’s insecurities by showing him that she had a clue – bearing more than a passing resemblance to an Immunity Idol package – just before departing for Tribal Council, in a bid to shift the elimination odds closer to 50/50 than the 90/10 the trio were up against at that stage. 

As a fourth vote for Annalize was revealed to tie her tally with Josie’s at Tribal Council, the success of Palesa’s plan was confirmed, with Ace again having a dramatic impact on the result of the vote after being prompted by Josie at camp to ‘be the lion’ in the Big Five and take control of his destiny.

Despite Mindanao having it all their own way at both Reward and Immunity Challenges thus far, all is far from rosy on their beach. To break the “girls” alliance, the guys decided to bring outsider Marthunis, who had been everyone’s first choice to go home, into their circle. But can they be trusted?

Tune in to Survivor South Africa: Philippines again next week to see if Luzon can break their losing streak, and just how long the Mindanao majority’s newfound patience with Marthunis, lasts.